i see YOU

by Curtis Reaves, installed June 2022 - June 2023

printed metal panels

i see YOU was created by Pittsburgh native Curtis Reaves, a nationally renowned artist known primarily for his poetic abstract work that utilizes photography, recycled materials and technology. Reaves worked with 80 local 4th and 5th grade students from Lincoln Elementary and Urban Academy to conceptualize and create his piece.

They collectively chose to work with self portraits, utilizing photography and digital art to add shapes, textures and other tools that portray each student's individuality.

Curtis is inspired by shapes, textures and composition, and he finds the most interesting things in unexpected places. His creative passion and strength are found in his intrinsic ability to take objects, materials, and artifacts, and transforms them into poetic abstract imagery that have a lasting impact.

The photos and silhouettes seen in his work are that of local students he worked closely with during his residency. 

From the artist:

I loved working with these students. I saw the light come on and they opened up. The title of the installation was inspired by them. I asked them ‘What does the art say to them? And what do they see in the art?’ They embraced me.

That was a beautiful part of this process. Each is unique and the images reflect their individuality.These kids are our community and this collaboration with youth is what an artist dreams of.



More about Curtis Reaves: 


Curtis Reaves, Pittsburgh area-based photographer, thoughtfully creates public installations, and sustainable Fine Art photography for residential and commercial environments. His work has been exhibited in galleries and museums across the United States, including the Chicago Historical Society, the Senator John Heinz History Center, and the Carnegie Museum of Art. The foundation and uniqueness of his work is influenced by the process of envisioning the countless possibilities unearthed in discarded materials. Curtis is inspired by shapes, textures and composition, and he finds the most interesting things in unexpected places. Reaves utilizes film, digital processes, and computer technology to transform his work into poetic abstract imagery. Curtis also works as a Rostered Artist with the State of Pennsylvania, as an Arts Educator in schools throughout the Commonwealth. As a Teaching Artist, Reaves utilizes video and photography as a vehicle for artistic expression, and social change with community youth.

In 2009, Reaves co-founded his passion project, C-clear Empowerment Inc. C-clear is a 501c3 non-profit community and economic development corporation located in the City of McKeesport. C-clear provides youth and adult employment and training programs centered around the arts, technology and entrepreneurial initiatives.