Local artist sits down with The Chronicle

April Reich has become one of the most sought after artists in the Triad area.

Local artist sits down with The Chronicle
April 29
05:35 2023

April Reich is becoming one of the most well-known artists in the Triad area. Her paintings have become very popular due to their abstract nature. Her unique style of artistry is one of the major reasons why she has garnered so much notoriety.

Reich is a native of Winston-Salem and a Carver High School graduate. She holds an undergrad degree from Fayetteville State University, along with two master’s degrees from the University of Phoenix and Full Sail University.  

Reich’s company, My Creative Designs, incorporates several businesses and has been in operation for 21 years. She not only paints, but also makes custom t-shirts, jackets and many other items. She recently sat down with The Chronicle to discuss her artistic style, rebranding and upcoming art show on July 30.

Question: Can you give me an overview of what your company consists of?

Answer: My Creative Design consists of me being the artist and graphic designer, but with that being said, my other clients asked if I could do websites, logos and all this other stuff and I said yes. All of that is art to me and every little thing branched off of My Creative Design. I have the t-shirt line, the makeup line and the fashion, so that’s how that got started and that’s why people call me the modern-day renaissance woman because I do so many things. Art is my love, art is my passion, and that’s what I do. That’s my main focus of what I do, and everything just came naturally.  

Question: Is painting your first love?

Answer: Painting is my first love. Fashion and art go hand-in-hand to me. Growing up, my mom was an interior designer, seamstress and baker, so the arts were in me. My dad does lawn care work so all that was art. When I went to college, the last two years I started taking a lot of art classes. Doing art in college made me start thinking that I could do something with this, so when I left college in 2002 from Fayetteville State, I was like, God what do you want me to do with this degree that I have because my degree was in business administration with a concentration in marketing management.

He said I need to go to the art store, and I hadn’t been to the art store since I was a little girl with my mom. I told Him to lead me and guide me where He wanted me to go, so after that I went to the art store and picked up cheap canvases and cheap paints and God said this was my new assignment. Every time I do a painting, I pray over my paintings before I do it, whether I am doing it for myself or for a client, because I want the vision to be there. Other artists may pick out colors before they do a painting; I don’t do that. I prepare my canvases first, then I get my guidance.  Sometimes a painting may take me a couple of hours and then sometimes it may take me a couple of months to do. Some paintings I have been sitting on for a couple of years.

Question: How do you go about developing the concepts for your paintings?

Answer: Me and you might be talking and I might look at your shirt and notice the colors and shapes and it may take me to a place where when I get home I may sketch it out real quick, leave it alone and I might go paint it later. Sometimes I might need to do it right now because I need to get it out. I have a master’s in fine art so that’s how I got the scope of being an artist and the scope of the direction of dimensions and shapes and all that great stuff. For me, I am just passionate about what I do, and the passion just comes out of me and I just have to do it. I have a book on the side of my bed, and I have some pens because in the middle of the night I may have a dream and I sometimes sketch out things from my dreams.

Question: What constitutes an abstract artist in your opinion?

Answer: For me, being an abstract artist is just finding that passion for it, that passion of not being able to be right or wrong because some artists feel they have to be in a particular niche. I was always drawn to abstract because I didn’t have to be right or wrong. I didn’t have to worry about colors, and I didn’t have to worry about whatever it is, I just put paint to the canvas and I just let it go from there.  

Question: How do you find the time to get everything done with so many aspects of your business?

Answer: With all other businesses that I have, I make a schedule out. I just make time because I have a busy schedule. I am doing something every day.  

Question: Have you always had an artistic vibe about you?

Answer: Yes. My mom used to always tell me that I was going to do something with art or fashion because I was always the quirky one. I might look different from everybody else; I would dress differently, and I think every color matches. Even with my paintings from 21 years ago, I see the growth. In my hands, I see how it’s manifesting something different now. I put God into everything and I started it with Him in mind, but I have been more purposeful about it now.  

Question: When did you realize that My Creative Designs could be a serious business opportunity?

Answer: In 2002, when I first started the business, and people were buying the artwork. I thought if people are buying them now and I am selling smaller canvases, what can happen over the years? I moved to Charlotte and found my art mentor and he was the only one that was willing to work with me.  He taught me a lot of things and we still communicate to this day. He will critique me on my work and send me a message about things I could have done differently.

A couple of years ago, I actually stopped working because I got consumed with other things in my life. People would ask me for new artwork and I would tell them that I could sell them some old stuff, but I had to get back into the mental state of being me and what I love to do. Anything to do with art, I am all for it.

Question: Did you think you would be on this level 21 years ago when you first started?

Answer: Not putting myself in a box, but for African American artists, it’s hard for us. My progress got to where it is now because I was taking gradual baby steps. I didn’t want it to be a microwave for me, I wanted to organically grow my business. I wanted to be a household name and I wanted people to think of me first when they think of a piece of artwork or clothing.

I don’t have to do any advertising and now people are coming to me for business. Realtors are coming to me to decorate their homes with a piece of my artwork. Now the homeowners are reaching out to me to create custom pieces of art for them. I didn’t think I would be as big as I am now, and it took for me to come back home to Winston-Salem to understand the passion and my craft that I have. I had to come home to realize this is what I am good at and don’t take it for granted.

Question: Where would you like to see your business 10 years from now?

Answer: I want to see myself in New York with my face on there saying this artist has a solo show for a two or three month stretch. I see my name everywhere; I see my paintings on furniture and wallpaper. I see my art on different things. I see it on hotels and model homes and that’s how big I want it to be. I want it to be brandable so it can be everywhere. I could be in Target selling clothes. I want to take it to the next level of art and with me being an abstract artist it’s cool because you can see it on different things. I see me being bigger than life and having a whole team behind me running me to death.  

Question: As a female African American artist, do you look at yourself as a role model to younger female artists of color?

Answer: Yes, I do and I actually mentor other female artists that want to get into the arts because I know how hard it was for me finding an art mentor. A lot of times it’s hard for us because nobody really wants to teach us and my thing is if I teach you what I know, I want you to go out and bless somebody else with the same thing I taught you, but you are going to flip it your own way. Hopefully, I am being a good role model to people, especially young ladies and older individuals too. I want to be that Godly role model too, because I like to show people this is what God made me to be and I will keep doing it because I don’t want those gifts taken away from me.

Question: When people look at your art, what do you want them to take away from it?

Answer: I want them to see passion, I want them to see God in my artwork, I want them to see a field of emotions.  I name my paintings but then I back it up with Godly stuff too. I want them to be moved by it and some may not like it and that’s okay, because that gives me motivation to do something else.

A lot of people don’t understand abstract art, either. They think we just throw paint on the canvas and that’s not the case. It’s a rhyme and reason why those strokes are there. If you ever see me paint, there is a rhyme and reason why I put each brush stroke and color where it’s supposed to be. Everything is intentional. Music is one of my big things too.  I am a music person so I may have some country on, I might have some rap on, I may have some gospel music, I may have some jazz. With each genre of music, I paint differently to it. I always start off with my gospel first. 

I just thank God for putting me in this position after 21 years because it’s truly a blessing.  

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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