outsider art

Jesse Reno

United States 1974

Painting, Murals, Outsider Art


Jesse Reno
Jesse Reno
United States
March 16, 2017

Jesse Reno is a self-taught American painter and muralist, whose art is based on his interest in native and primitive societies. Reno himself terms his art as neo-primitivism. Jesse Reno was born in Teaneck, New Jersey in 1974. He was born with an extreme fever, which caused severe damage to his optic nerve. Because of this, Reno spent almost his entire first year in a hospital, where doctors were trying to examine and evaluate all of the damages caused by the high temperature. As it turns out, fever affected blindspots in over half the visual field of his right eye and left him with a lazy eye and bad vision. All of these damages, as well as the chronic pain caused by the problems, affected his perception as a painter and an artist but hasn’t stopped him from drawing since he could hold a pencil. His damaged vision causes strange distortions in depth perception, forcing him to always stay close to his works while painting. In addition, artist’s vision is sensitive to both light and color, caused by a high level of contrast. Jesse Reno’s different vision greatly shaped his art, both in a color pallet and in terms of depth within his paintings, murals and commissioned works.

Jesse Reno - 2016 jessereno like video cookies and blog log
Jesse Reno – The map was crude, but the path was clear

Complexity, Chaos, and Creativity

While creating art, Jesse Reno attempts to separate himself from thoughts and conscious ideas, in order to follow them only through his actions and movement. He typically works on 5 to 10 canvases at once, jumping between them, and in that way keeps himself from getting attached to one idea and allowing a thematic appearance to occur. Only in the final stages, he tends to make sense of the given imagery, by adding final touches which will contribute to an understanding of its meaning. The main intention of Reno’s art is, for him, to give a sense of natural order while approaching painting with a random idea. His art conveys an inner struggle for expression, introspection, and visualization. As in primitive cultures, Jesse’s creations remain pure as if they are his visual diaries open for interpretation, devoid of any predetermined ideas, technical process or pre-established art forms. The materials Reno uses include acrylic paint, oil pastels, and colored pencils, which he applies on surfaces like wood panel and canvas. With each new layer of paint, he comes closer to his personal purpose and truth.

The main intention of Reno’s art is, for him, to give a sense of natural order while approaching painting with a random idea

Jesse Reno - anmelden Ghosts series page
Jesse Reno – Ghosts

Symbols and Beings

Jesse Reno’s art is characterized by symbolism, seeping with elements of mythology and archetypes. Through seemingly random shapes, colors, and markings, Jesse features anthropomorphic figures with human features and physiques. These shamanic beings, Totem animals, and Native American figures struggle to find their place in a world simultaneously on the verge of expanding and collapsing. Combined with features of animals such as snakes, birds, and deer, author’s creatures are created to depict and explore the increasing disconnection between humanity and nature. The artist created his own symbology, with elements that carry meaning and interpretation, just like a legend of a map. His visual language incorporates symbols such as circle, square, line, X, crown, and stars. Understanding of Jesse Reno’s visual symbols opens a dialogue where images truly are worth a thousand words.

Author’s creatures are created to depict and explore the increasing disconnection between humanity and nature

neo-primitivism, outsider art series, Jesse Reno
Jesse Reno – Bull Turtle – 2015

Jesse Reno’s Public Studio, Exhibitions and Commissioned Works

Highly creative, Jesse Reno has created over 3000 paintings and drawings over a period of 15 years. He has been exhibiting his works since 2000, in various venues across the United States, Canada, France, Mexico, and many others. Reno’s work has been featured in numerous publications such as Juxtapoz, Artnews, Artension, among others. In addition to painting, Jesse Reno also produces murals and commissioned works – such as paintings on guitars, surfboards, skis. As one of Portland’s resident artists, Jesse’s painted walls can be found around the town, as well as in other cities. One of his largest works can be seen in Winnipeg, Canada. Commissioned by the Province of Manitoba, Jesse Reno created a large-scale mural as a reminder of the cultural importance of the Native American people in the region. In 2014, Jesse Reno has moved into a public studio. The studio is open every day for the public to stop in and see over 300 paintings and works that are still in progress. It allows the viewers to truly experience Jesse Reno’s art and his creative process. Under the name True Measure Gallery, the studio is located on Burnside Street, in Portland, Oregon.

Jesse Reno lives and works in his studio in Portland, Oregon.

Featured image: Jesse Reno – Portrait – Photo via yellowdoorartmarket.com
All other images copyright of the artist; All images used for illustrative purposes only

YearExhibition TitleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group
2014Jesse RenoNebraska Gallery, Portland, OR Solo
2014Jesse RenoKate Alkarni Gallery, Seattle, WASolo
2013Jesse RenoGalleria Dante, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico Solo
2013Jesse RenoThe Hollow Gallery, Portland, OR Solo
2013Jesse RenoRiverSea Gallery, Astoria, ORSolo
201310th AnniversaryRotofugi Gallery, Chicago, ILGroup
2013Group ShowAFK Gallery, Lisbon, Portugal Group
2013Group ShowPeoples Art Gallery, Portland, OR Group
2013Lake Oswego Festival Of The ArtsLake Oswego, OR Group
2013Group ShowKate Alkarni Gallery, Seattle, WA Group
2012Wolves Tails Crossed Arrows and CanoesRotofugi Gallery, Chicago, IL Solo
2012Jesse RenoContemporary Fine Arts Gallery, La Jolla, CA Solo
2012Jesse Reno5 Piece Gallery, Switzerland Solo
2012Jesse RenoArtisans On Taylor, Port Townsend, WASolo
2012Group ShowGaleria Exodo, San Juan, Puerto Rico Group
2012Group ShowArtisti Galerie, France Group
2012Lille Art FairLillie, France Group
2012Group ShowPortland Art Museum, Portland, OR Group
2011Jesse RenoRougette Gallery, Rockland, Maine Solo
2011Jesse RenoIn3Arts Gallery, Metz, France Solo
2011Jesse RenoGaleria Dante, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico Solo
2011Jesse RenoGraeter Art Gallery, Portland, OR Solo
2011LAX – PDXTogether Gallery, Portland, OR Group
2011New YorkArtisti Galerie, France Group
2011Group ShowIlliterate Gallery, Denver, ColoradoGroup
2010RebornLocal 35, Portland, OR Solo
2010Jesse Reno19TEN, Portland, OR Solo
2010Objects of DesireArtisans on Taylor Gallery, Port Townsend, WASolo
2010Jesse RenoGaleria Dante, Puerto Vallarta, MexicoSolo
2010Self Taught Artist FestivalL'Art Partage, Rives, France Group
2010Exposition Au-dessous des VolcansArt contemporain, Muriac, France Group
2010Measuring and CollectingMontonaro Gallery, Plymouth, RI Group
2010Outsider Art International FestivalGrand Baz'Art à Bézu, Bézu St Eloi, France Group
2010Edge of LoveStrychnin Gallery, Berlin,Germany Group
2010Measuring and CollectingSelect Design, Burlington, VT Group
2010ElementsArt Asylum, Boston, MAGroup
2009Rooted in Stars and MagicNemo Design, Portland, OR Solo
2009When Free Will Becomes DestinyAyden Gallery, Vancouver, B.C. Solo
2009Jesse RenoLunar Boy Gallery, Astoria, OR Solo
2009Jesse RenoPi Art Gallery, Kansas City, MO Solo
2009Jesse RenoAdidas Store, Portland, OR Solo
2009Jesse RenoLocal35, Portland, OR Solo
2009Jesse Reno19TEN, Portland, OR Solo
2009Jesse RenoNemo Design, Portland, ORSolo
2009Group ShowGallery Roth, San Diego, CA Group
2009One Hundred BeastsGiant Robot Gallery, San Francisco, CA Group
2009Happy Hour for the ApocolypseThe Goodfoot, Portland, OR Group
2009Outsider Art International FestivalGrand Baz'Art à Bézu, Bézu St Eloi, France Group
2009Delicieusement SinguliersChateau Corbin, Salle Gallilée, Liverdun, France Group
2009Group ShowEsvelt Gallery at Columbia Basin College, Pasco, WA Group
2009The PioneersUpperplayground, Portland, OR Group
2009The Harrington CollectionCourtenay BC, Canada Group
2009Juxtapoz 15th Anniversary Benefit Art ShowLos Angeles, CA Group
2009Group ShowGalleria Artevistas, Barcelona, Spain Group
2009Group ShowBackspace, Portland, OR Group
2009Group ShowBasil Hallward Art Gallery, Portland, OR Group
2009Group ShowPlanet Rooth, San Diego, CA Group
2009Group ShowThe Goodfoot, Portland, OR Group
2009Group ShowAyden Gallery, Vancouver, BC CanadaGroup
2008Jesse RenoCrude Things Gallery, Portland, OR Solo
2008Jesse RenoDestroy Store, Portland, ORSolo
2008Secret CodeScreen Arts Gallery, Saint Augustine, FL Group
2008Collaboration Show with Lana GuerraGoodfoot, Portland, ORGroup
2008Other WorldsFoundation One Gallery, Atlanta, GA Group
2008Brave ArtTelus Ski & Snowboard Festival, BC, Canada Group
2008Brave ArtAyden Gallery, Vancouver, BC, Canada Group
2008Group ShowMontanaro Gallery, Newport, RI Group
2008Group ShowFifty24SF Gallery, San Francisco, CAGroup
2007Jesse RenoBLK - MRKT Gallery, Culver City, CA Solo
2007Jesse RenoThe Life, Portland, OR Solo
2007Jesse RenoLocal 35, Portland, OR Solo
2007Jesse RenoPi Art Gallery, Kansas City, MOSolo
2007BMG Artists AnnualBLK - MRKT Gallery, Culver City, CA Group
2007These Bagels are GnarlyCinders Gallery in Brooklyn, NY Group
2007Fresh ProduceAnno Domini, San Jose, CA Group
2007Beast ShowBell & Wissell, Seattle, WA Group
2007Brave ArtTelus Ski & Snowboard Festival, BC, Canada Group
2007Group ShowWind Up Gallery, Pheonix, AZ Group
2007Brave ArtEncinitas, CAGroup
2006Jesse RenoLocal 35, Portland, OR Solo
2006100 paintings 500sq ftZeitgeist Gallery, Portland, OR Solo
2006Personal HistoryPi Art Gallery, Kansas City, MOSolo
2006BMG Artists AnnualBLK - MRKT Gallery, Culver City, CA Group
2006Visual AIDS Benefit - Postcards From the EdgeSikkema Jenkins & Co., Chelsea, NYGroup
2006New SceneryUpper Playground PDX and FIFTY 24PDX Gallery, Portland, OR Group
2006Brave ArtAyden Gallery, Vancouver, BC Group
2006Said and DoneAlberta College of Art and Design, Alberta, Canada Group
2006PushThe Works, Edmonton, Alberta Group
2006Fresh ProduceAnno Domini, San Jose, CA Group
2006Nowdays ShuffleBackspace, Portland, OR Group
2006Brave ArtTelus Ski & Snowboard Festival, Whistler, BC Group
2006Group ShowJack Fischer Gallery, San Francisco, CA Group
2006IntegrateAyden Gallery, Vancouver, BC Group
2006The Board ShowUNK Gallery, Salt Lake City, UTGroup
2006Said and Done, Collaborative Project number twoAnti Social Gallery, Vancouver, BCGroup
2006Feral Art TourFeral Gallery, Santa Fe, NMGroup
2005Jesse RenoFix Gallery, Portland, OR Solo
2005Jesse RenoMilk Studio, Portland, OR Solo
2005Feral VisionsCorridor Gallery, Seattle, WA Solo
2005Jesse RenoLocal 35, Portland, OR Solo
2005Jesse RenoBackspace, Portland, ORSolo
2005Fresh ProduceA.D. Gallery, San Jose, CA Group
2005Vans Custom Shoe ShowLocal 35, Portland, OR Group
2005Group ShowPopmart, Bethlehem, PA Group
2005Vinyl Killers 3The Goodfoot, Portland, OR Group
2005Solomon Custom Snowboard ShowAdidas Store, Portland, ORGroup
2004Jesse RenoNew American Casuals, Portland, OR Solo
2004Jesse RenoMilk Studio, Portland, OR Solo
2004Jesse RenoThe ID Gallery, Easton, PA Solo
2004Politically MotivatedBlah Blah Gallery, Plano, TXSolo
2004Group ShowZeitgeist Gallery, Portland, OR Group
2004Group ShowAhlum Gallery, Easton, PA Group
2004Sneaker PimpsNAC, Portland, OR Group
2004Group ShowHoodoo MO Gallery, Hannibal, MI Group
2004Group ShowOutsider Gallery, Rockland, ME Group
2004Group ShowEye Candy Studio, Kutztown, PAGroup
2003Group ShowXender Arts, Sarasota, FL Group
2003Perfect 8The ID Gallery, Easton, PA Group
2003The Gun ShowThe Shooting Gallery, San Francisco, CAGroup
2002Jesse RenoHoopla Gallery, Bethlehem, PASolo
2002Group ShowOpen Space Gallery, Allentown, PA Group
2002Group ShowSteel City, Bethlehem, PAGroup