Hip Hop Strokes : Reni Candelier Paints A Picture.

The Sun rises and sets each day. We all know and accept this fact without question. Most people  view poverty or oppression the same way. We know it happens. We never ask why and we never consider the implications of a world without it.

If you’ve ever experienced poverty, the impact of a world without ‘thing’s colors your life. It seeps over into everything you do. You grow accustomed to having very little and struggling for every crumb. Even if your poverty experience was only temporary, the effects are never truly forgotten.

Rene Candelier is an artist who has known both deep poverty as well as great wealth. Her father was able to bring his family into a better financial situation but still wanted them to stay grounded and appreciate their position in life.

“I remember going to poor schools and riding the bus even though at one point we had money. My father wanted us to know his poverty.”

Art was a way to express her reaction to such a strange polarity. “At the age of fifteen I was accepted in a technical academy for art (ITESA). ITESA helped me develop and grow a lot of the skills I have today.” (Rawartist.org, 2013)

” I know that I have something to bring to the world…and I want to do that being real.”

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Reni has lived in poverty. She’s also lived in luxury. As a teenager watching Will Smith in  The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, she’d found someone whose experiences paralleled hers.
“I love his funk…and he never changed. He was walkin’ around being really cool and naive to this rich world that was stupid to him.  Throughout the whole show he never changed. He stayed true to himself.”

Will Smith opened her eyes to a world in which she found inspiration. The soundtrack of that world was Hip Hop. Reni is a child of the music and it’s culture.  She, like it, is bold and unapologetic. Her interpretation of the world is at once grimy and refined. Hip Hop teaches as well as taunts. It inspires as well insults.

“If I give you advice,” she says, “Don’t take it.”  Isn’t that what many of us have learned from Hip Hop?

If given a chance to meet any artist in history, alive or otherwise, Reni chose Keith Haring. I can see that. I can see his influence in so many of her pieces.

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Reni’s immersion and appreciation of  1980’s Pop Culture and Art is impressive considering she’s 24 years old. The amount of work she’s produced at such a young age  is phenomenal. Although born in the Dominican Republic, her grasp of artists from the US and her respect for their contributions is obvious.

As a photographer, she explores themes of fashion, politics, music and everything in between. Quirky with soft edges in some places and defiantly square jawed in others, Reni’s images express her many influences. Cindy Sherman is one she cites as a major influence.

Much like Cindy Sherman, Reni likes to present her work in themes. She is currently exploring the ideas of  home and family in the places people live.

“My new work…Most of it was done in houses. I honestly go into peoples homes. I respect their rules.”


“This is MASS District. Every city has it’s Art Scene…and Honestly, I’ve found mine here.”

I, for one, am glad that Reni has made MASS District and Fort Lauderdale in general, her art home. Her voice is loud and raucous and much needed in a world consumed with fake reality and lukewarm passion. As artist- in residence at Dekkkgon, her work is on display in print, on canvas and in mural form.

Check for more on Reni online at renecandelier.com, Instagram or Tumblr.

3 thoughts on “Hip Hop Strokes : Reni Candelier Paints A Picture.

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