Featured Artist Interview – Rouwen & Reeve

Last month you might remember I wrote a blog bite all about Dorset Art Weeks and the fab artists I stumbled on: ROUWEN & REEVE.


I loved their work and passion for creating so much…

that I invited them to take part in my July Featured Artist Interview, where I could delve a little deeper into their work and practice.

all images courtesy of Rouwen & Reeve


What made you decide to collaborate together, how did it start?

As friends we discovered we appreciated each others’ work and thought we might experiment with collaboration. Initially it was about Bev decorating some of my pots. We produced some nice pieces but found the scope rather limiting. However, we found working together inspiring and started to work on installations of painting and ceramics. This is now the cornerstone of our collaboration.


Your work has a great synchronicity to it, did this come easily or is it something that has been perfected over time?

The connections within our work have developed over time and continue to evolve.  We work hard at our processes and look for and learn from feedback.

We see our work as exploring relationships:

  • The relationship between us, the artists.
  • Between the artists and the subject at hand.
  • Between the subject and the abstractions extracted.
  • Between the paint, print and clay that make up our installations.
  • And, how all these relationships are connected.

all images courtesy of Rouwen & Reeve


How long have you been working together in this way?

We began experimenting about 4 years ago and have been truly committed for the last two years.


Does your work reach a natural completion point or can there always be more you feel could be added?

We like to complete projects quite quickly and move on to identify and work on fresh subjects. We try not to overwork individual pieces. Having two minds helps in knowing when to stop.

We may return to and extend projects in the future if we have fresh inputs.


Do you ever revise older pieces that were completed, or perhaps discarded as individual projects, and complete them together?

It hasn’t happened yet but we don’t rule out recycling earlier work or ideas.

We do a lot of editing before storing pieces for later use. Again, two minds being involved helps with difficult editing decisions.

all images courtesy of Rouwen & Reeve


You seem to have found your groove working together, it really works well! Do you still create solo projects? or is it a constant evolution of the work rather than a who does what?

Our focus is on our combined work. We have lots of projects we want to explore and consequently have little time for solo efforts. We spend time travelling to collect and develop fresh ideas. We believe in teamwork.


How do you sell your pieces? As they work so well as a mixed media collection, do you sell them as such, or if a buyer was interested in just a particular component, are you open to splitting them up? Is that an easy conversation?

We are not focussed on sales. Our current objective is to build a body of work and to present exhibitions of our mixed media installations. We have works connected to some of our installations that are available for sale but we would not separate elements of the main installations.

We believe the connections between the elements of our installations are very unusual if not unique and it would seem strange to split them apart.  

all images courtesy of Rouwen & Reeve


You both have different skill sets. Bev, do you think about the possible outcomes and shapes/colours that Doug can then work with later when completing the initial painting, or do you just create completely organically and then leave it up to him to see what he pulls and interprets from the piece when its finished?

Our approach is all about dialogue. We now discuss each project as a whole before we start and throughout the making process. It includes discussions about colours, shapes, textures and size. We are always looking for something fresh or surprising. Naturally our ideas evolve as the project develops. Its an iterative and selective process. Some ideas just don’t pass the test.


You also work with photographer: Brendan Buesnel in the cases of STACKS and MOVEMENT. This brings in another dimension but again, works very well! How did you come have Brendan’s involvement in your work and is this something that will feature again?

Brendan is a close friend. We got to know him when we asked him to photograph some of our work. We really like his style and thought it would be fun to collaborate. We had clear ideas about how we wanted the photographs to fit in. Hopefully we may work together again in the future.

all images courtesy of Rouwen & Reeve


As with Brendan’s involvement, are you open to collaborating with other artists in the future?

We like collaborating and have lots of potential partners in the Bridport area. We have open minds about future activities.


What do you see for Rouwen & Reeve in the future?

We will continue exploring the power of connections and aim to exhibit more broadly.

We will be very busy.

Lots of experiments.

We have only just begun..

all images courtesy of Rouwen & Reeve


Didn’t get enough and want to see more of Rouwen & Reeve? NO PROBLEM! Use the following links to keep updated of all their latest projects and developments…




If you like what you see, leave a COMMENT and FOLLOW OiOi Arts for MORE!

**All images are owned by the artists; Rouwen and Reeve. They have granted permissions for their use in this interview. They retain full copyright.

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