He grew up in a city filled with nationally noted art and architecture. And now his own work forms a part of Columbus’ creative inspiration.

So allow Tre Reising to reminisce a bit in the wake of his artwork, “Live, Love, Laugh, Laugh Until You Cry,” recently permanently installed in the kidscommons museum downtown.

“It’s nice for me after growing up here in Columbus,” said the graduate of the prestigious Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan. “Seeing all this excellent design and art and architecture in one city, I didn’t fully realize that other cities weren’t like this.

“But it definitely influenced my aesthetic sensibilities from an early age. I grew up playing on the old Commons Cesar Pelli-designed playground,” he said. “So it’s cool to see everything now come full circle.”

Story continues below gallery

Reising, pictured at top, originally created the series of yellow Strofoam, three-and-half-foot emojis in about three weeks to be displayed on a hallway wall at the Indianapolis International Airport, where it was installed in late 2014. A local, anonymous donor loved the emojis ever since they playfully garnered attention in Indy. And the backer wanted to find a way to get the art to kidcommons, where the person saw the work as a whimsical fit.

“It just naturally puts a smile on your face when you see it,” said Diane Robbins, kidscommons’ marketing manager. “Emojis are so kid-friendly.”

Q: Did you even think initially that this piece could fit well at kidscommons?

I had an initial conversation with someone on Facebook. But that dropped off pretty quickly.

Q: How do you connect with an art-loving public?

I always try to think about my (general) audience. Even though I went to seven years of art school, I don’t think the public needs seven years of art school to be able to connect with art.

Look at this piece. We don’t have to make that connection so difficult. It’s OK sometimes to take a no-nonsense approach.

Q: What do you like to create with your pieces?

I like making an interpretation of things — not necessarily coming up with something totally new and different. I like doing a twist on things.

Q: You clearly have a sense of humor with your work. Your previous public piece linking to a hashtag of pop star Justin Bieber attracted some smiles, even through the Indianapolis airport rejected it because of Bieber’s indiscretions.

Yeah, sure. I mean, I’m a 30-year-old guy talking about Justin Bieber stuff. That was kind of a brave move to put myself out there like that.

Like, “Yep — this is what I’ve really been working on.”

Q: So art certainly can offer commentary?

Artists are the the most dangerous people because they can connect with nearly every type of person in some way. They are the glue helping us understand the world around us.

Q: What’s your view on Los Angeles?

It’s one of the most happening art centers, above even New York, I think.

About Tre Reising

Age: 30.

Education: 2004 graduate of Columbus East High School; 2009 Graduate of Herron School of Art and Design in Indianapolis; 2013 graduate of Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.

Current position: Lab assistant at Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles.

Before the West coast: Lived in Brooklyn, working as a set designer in a job that left no time for his art.

SHARE
Brian Blair is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at bblair@therepublic.com or 812-379-5672.