Behind the Lens With Michael Reilly

Behind the Lens With Michael Reilly
Michael Reilly By

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Meet Michael Reilly:

I am a painter of jazz, when the painting is right you can see the music come through the brush. I have been painting of 25 years, Jazz to me is the perfect thing to paint; it combines both my passions.

View more Michael Reilly photos at All About Jazz


Pen, Ink, paint.

Teachers and/or influences?

Robert Neuman.

I knew I wanted to be a photographer when...

I have always loved music and jazz since i was very young, I found an old jazz photo book at the dump one day and that started my current series, portrait of jazz.

Your approach to photography:

I have been painting for 25 years and jazz for the past 10 years. I love the hunt for LPs and listening to the musicians, as I paint them, so their music directly influences the painting.

Your teaching approach/philosophy:

I like to research obscure musicians and paint them to help keep their memory alive, I have used Lee Friedlander's images a lot.

Your biggest challenge when shooting indoor (or low lighted) events:

I often go to concerts and paint live, that is very cool; I have a very compact setup and can paint in any situation.

Your biggest challenge when shooting outdoor events:

I paint small at concerts, they turn into larger works in the studio, My biggest paintings are 9'x12'; this past summer I was the festival artist for the New Haven Jazz Fest. We did a public jazz painting 36' long.

Favorite venue to shoot:

I recently had a show at the OK Jazz Hall of Fame. and did the cover art for Giuseppi Logan's new album.

Favorite festival to shoot:

I have been going to the Montreal Jazz Fest for the past eight years, and this gives me more than a year's worth of work to do in the studio. I often come home with over 200 sketches.

Where was your first assignment location?

I am going to be the festival artist this year for the New Haven Jazz Fest again, with a new public art project.

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