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Collector Profile - Benjamin Reynaert

Collector Profile - Benjamin Reynaert

Collector Profile - Benjamin Reynaert

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Collector Profile

Benjamin Reynaert

Benjamin Reynaert is the Style Director of Domino Magazine, and has brought a breath of fresh air to the design entity since joining their team. He shares his Jackson Heights apartment with his partner, where layering and leaning his objects and artwork create a warm and inviting environment for creativity and a sense of place. We explored his favorite New York institutions to find inspiration, his collecting philosophy (“more is more”) and what sparked his career in the visual editorial landscape.

 

Q.

Tell us a little about yourself.

A.

I’m currently the Style Director at Domino. There’s nothing I love more than investigating and sharing really inspiring stories that showcase an individual’s unique personal style. I’m working on new columns and franchises for the magazine, and am passionate about visual storytelling whether in print or our digital platforms. I wake up each morning energized and enthusiastic about sharing the work of creatives in the design industry, from interior decorators to artisans to furniture designers.

Q.

Where do you live and how did you find your space? What makes it a home to you?

A.

My partner and I live in Jackson Heights, New York, and found our apartment after an exhaustive search in the neighborhood, which was a big change from living previously in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. I love our lively and diverse neighborhood and the historic district filled with beautiful brick buildings that make up most of Jackson Heights. Layering in objects, furniture and textiles that I truly love really makes our apartment a home. I don’t always know where an item I fall in love with will go, but if it’s something I really love I know it will work out.

Q.

How have you been coping in quarantine? What has been keeping you inspired, or at least sane?

A.

I’ve enjoyed making time for myself each morning during quarantine to look at something beautiful. I have dug out old design books and back issues of magazines that I find interesting, and look through them each day. It’s definitely helped make me more of a morning person.

Ben Reynaert

Ben Reynaert says

“I certainly have a “more is more” aesthetic when it comes to artwork, so I don’t like to pigeon hole a piece to a particular spot -- I enjoy moving pieces around and seeing where they live best through trial and error. Something I intend for a space often works better somewhere less expected.”


Q.

Tell us about your work as a Style Director. What drew you to this profession?

A.

I sort of fell into working in magazines by accident. Since I majored in fine art and architecture at RISD, I was pretty capable of making things, so when a friend of mine asked if I was available to help make crafts at Martha Stewart Living, I said yes and immediately fell in love with the art of telling stories for magazines, the iteration, production and all of the hands on aspects of styling and photography.

Q.

Where do you think your creative drive and sense of style comes from?

A.

Growing up I was always drawing houses, floor plans and offering my parents unsolicited advice about design and moved around their furniture without permission. My own sense of style stems from the evolution of buying items I love, trying them in my home and seeing what works and doesn’t work.

Q.

When did you first start acquiring art?

A.

One of my first jobs was for a bookbinder and printmaker who paid me in delightful lunches, and sometimes her own artwork as well. I started collecting her work as a result of working for her, but seeing how wonderful it was to bring original artwork into my home and enjoy living with it, it led me to further collect other books and prints from artists I admired as well.

Q.

What was the first piece you fell in love with, and why?

A.

Having grown up with a grandfather that worked his entire career at Ford Motor Company outside of Detroit, Michigan, I happen to love cars. While living abroad in Rome I found a hand-colored print of a blue vintage Bugatti. I loved the linework and the precision of the work and made sure it made it safely back home with me.

Q.

What are some of the most sentimental or meaningful pieces in your collection?

A.

Some of the most meaningful pieces are those that I have picked up at a charity shop on a vacation, or for a bargain. I’ve always enjoyed treating the most humble and beautiful paintings and drawings I find as I would a Matisse.


Q.

For new collectors, do you have any advice you wish to impart? Do you have a collecting ethos or philosophy that you want to share?

A.

I tend to buy pieces that I truly love, whether it’s an artist I admire or a beautiful composition or color palette. I certainly have a “more is more” aesthetic when it comes to artwork, so I don’t like to pigeon hole a piece to a particular spot -- I enjoy moving pieces around and seeing where they live best through trial and error. Something I intend for a space often works better somewhere less expected.

Q.

Who are your all-time favorite artists?

A.

I love the landscape photography of Stephen Shore, sculptural vessels of Frances Palmer, works on paper by Egon Shiele and color field paintings of Mark Rothko.

Q.

Any emerging artists or designers you've currently got your eye on?

A.

I’m currently very interested in the one-of-a-kind furniture pieces designed by O&G Studio in Warren, Rhode Island, where the arm of a chair may have a hand carved into the end by hand and stained in incredibly unique and beautiful colors.

Q.

Favorite museum or creative space for inspiration?

A.

My favorite museum is the Morgan Library. I worked there for a spell and loved getting a chance to walk through the back halls and see the storage vaults. And, I’ve always loved the Renzo Piano addition that connects all of the original buildings. My favorite creative space for inspiration is the home of Hubert Givenchy -- layers upon layers and books piled on rustic farm tables creates an immediate sense of creative coziness for me.

Q.

Who do you want to collect next?

A.

I’d love to kick off a Picasso sculpture collection, but in all seriousness, I’m excited to have recently learned about the contemporary work of Jean-François Le Minh who has a very bold sense of color and texture, and I look forward to seeing when he does next.


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