Interview: Reginald Baylor Resides @ The Pfister Hotel

Dec. 31, 1969
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While he sips a cup of coffee in the Pfister Hotel lobby Reginald Baylor enjoys the perks allowed the inaugural Artist In Residence, a unique program instituted by the corporate leadership at the hotel. Baylor gratefully accepted this fascinating opportunity to work in an open studio as the Pfister first Artist In Residence, a unique program that began in spring and offers him access to individuals traveling from around the globe on a 24 hour basis. Native Milwaukeeans may also visit his working studio to watch him paint and be inspired by the hotel's historic architecture and interior. These new experiences influenced his imaginative limited edition prints, which Baylor briefly discusses while drinking that aromatic coffee and taking a relaxing moment from his typical creative routine.

Q: What inspires you about the Pfiister Hotel interiors?

A: Their large Victorian Art Collection that features around 70 paintings. Right now the hotel is in the slow and tedious process of restoring them. They're evaluating the frames and their current condition because they would like to restore all the works to a pristine condition.

Q: How did this directly affect your work?

A: I use elements of these Victorian paintings in my own artwork. And I've been working on these less expensive works on paper that I discovered during the process of creating them. I realized the drawings [underneath the paintings] were beautiful. The more beautiful the drawings become, the harder it was to apply paint over this process. They're actually linear images taken from finished acrylic paintings.

Q: Are these limited edition prints?

A: The prints are taken from the paintings, often an enlarged image from a painting, and run in limited editions of five. They sell for a little more than six hundred dollars and the collector can choose their own variations. I retain the design aspect but they [the collector] can customize the work. The client can also have that ability to choose certain colors. It them becomes expressionistic with the client becoming part of the process.

Q: How do you determine these customized color combinations?

A: There's a certain number of color combinations that the collector can use, a choice for the colors that can be used in the shapes, that I have design control over. Recently an important collector made a purchase, so this led us to change our approach. How we interact with the hotels customers, and how we look at ourselves. This allowed for development of the prints.

Q: Is there anything else you would  like to say about this program?

A: This program is exceptional for Milwaukee as a city, an outreach to the community. And it always intrigues me in how interested everyone is interested in it.


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