Premium Denim & Alternative Music. This is what Neuw Denim was built on. To bring that to life, each season we collaborate with creative artists from around the globe.
Multi-skilled and eclectically talented Magnus Reid began his impressive creative career at the age of 16, as a chef, cooking in cafes across Perth, Australia. Since then, he has become a creative force to reckon with. Known for his original take on traditional food,
outside of the kitchen Magnus soon began dabbling in art and music. Reid’s approach to painting is raw and textured, experimenting with ideas based around freedom, nature and how they are tied together.
A Q&A with Artist Magnus Reid
What’s a typical day in the life of Magnus Reid look like right now?
Currently I’m back and forth between Mallorca and London. In London, I’ll head to the studio after my boy goes to school, at around 9-10am, after at least 3 coffees. There, I’ll check in on the hotel project I’m working on, and by the afternoon I’ll try to pick up on some painting. I try to work during the day, using natural light, so that by evening, I can start making my way back home to have dinner with the kids and get them off to bed.
In Spain it’s more focused on the hotel, my day is a never ending list of spread sheets, quotes and figuring out how the operations will work. My business partner is an amazing photographer, and brings a huge wedge of creativity into this process, so its super exciting work. I normally get off for a swim around 4pm that will drift into dinner later on.
You’re a chef, artist, musician; all round creative - how do each of these passions merge or individually inspire each other?
I try to approach everything from the consumers’ view - how will they look at it, perceive it, and connect with it. With all my work, I try to create something people connect to emotionally, I feel like this is the measure of success in creative fields. Often food and art will be the relief for the other. When the painting isn’t hitting right, I find that leaving it for a short period and doing some cooking, or music, will give me the space to come back to it stronger and with more direction.
You're originally from Perth, Australia, now settled in London, does that distance apart seem further right now?
Of course. The distance has never bothered me, as I left when I was young and London has become my home. I was usually lucky enough to get back once a year, but with COVID, it has highlighted how much those trips meant to me, and how they informed my creative process. It’s sad to me to see how Australia seems happy to cut off the rest of the world when it could learn so much from other cultures, people and wonderful things outside of that big island.
Has living London changed the way you ‘make’ compared to living in Australia?
Europe in general has a much more free way of thinking and working. There are less rules and regulations, and more people to champion the underdog. This allows for more risks to be taken, more avenues to be explored and in general more art to make. I left Australia in my late teens, so I really can’t compare how it is to make art, or anything there. I hope I’m wrong, and Australia is a great place to make art.
How did you get into painting, and where do you find inspiration & How important is staying creative to you and what helps break the rut?
I started painting at night, I’d get home from shifts in the kitchen around midnight and needed something to bring me down to a place where I could sleep. Netflix got boring really quickly, so I started painting and after a short while I was hooked, and needed to find what it was I was going to paint, and what I was going to put out to the world. Inspiration is everywhere and in everything.
The more I’ve achieved personally in a creative field, the more it drives me to find the next thing. When in a rut, I’ll try a different application of creativity, but it’s important to keep doing something. If you’re leaving the work completely, you’ll miss the inspiration.
We collaborated together on great art-shirts using your work, tell us about those pieces and that process?
Two of the pieces with writing were early works, pieces I’ve kept for myself and are at the studio. The birds were painted about a year or two after. The process for the early stuff was really just discovery, it was some of the funnest work to make, with lots of trips to the art shop asking about oils and mediums. The birds were a part of a series that I created when I first got a studio and was able to work on multiple paintings at once. When looking back at the birds pieces, they were really me figuring out composition and abstraction using the motif of a simple bird shape.