Karl Reeves didn’t focus on art until four years ago, after he started skateboarding and was introduced to a new, world-wide community of skaters and artists. He has since dedicated his life to art.
At the end of last year, Reeves opened Art Is For Lovers, a spacious art gallery and performance space at 2228 N. Martin Luther King Dr. that covers 1,600 square feet and four adjoining rooms.
"Art is For Lovers is as positive as it’s going to get," says Reeves. "Anyone and everyone is invited to come here as long as they’re open minded and they appreciate and enjoy art."
Reeves will curate a show for Gallery Night on Friday, Oct. 17 from 6 to 11 p.m. called "Battle Of The Sexes." Liya Whitaker will host the event featuring more than 15 different artists. There will be four live performances as well from Jay Bass, Dee Phr3sh!, Auti Marie and Safs Debonair.
"It’s not a real battle, of course, it’s just a fun thing to bring all different people and artists together," he says.
"Battle of The Sexes" will also feature a Halloween costume contest.
Reeves plans to host six shows a year, rotating the art every other month. He is open to showcasing all kinds of art, but focuses on street culture and providing a place for underexposed artists, including young artists.
"There are a lot of really talented people in Milwaukee who just need a boost of confidence," says Reeves. "I love to give people the nudge to keep moving forward."
Art Is For Lovers offers gallery space to local artists, but has also hosted art from all over the world, including Chicago, New York and Poland.
"This is a free space where you have the control," he says. "And it’s for everyone – not just black and white people, but everyone. Asian, Indian, Muslim, whoever. People are people."
Reeves says he loves Milwaukee but also feels some anger toward the city.
"I can’t ignore what’s affecting me, but I channel the anger into art, into the gallery," he says. "I love Milwaukee in general, but Milwaukee is like an abusive mother. Still my mother, but can be abusive."
Reeves grew up on the North Side and graduated from Washington High School. He says he was interested in basketball and video games as a kid, but since discovering art, he has been completely dedicated to sharing others’ work, as well as his photography.
However, although he loves to take photos and takes them often, Reeves hesitates to call himself a photographer.
"I’m just a person who loves shooting film," he says.
Reeves says he loves taking photos of just about everything, but predominantly people. Originally, Reeves shot with a digital camera, but switched over to a film camera and taught himself about film photography.
"Digital photography wasn’t doing it for me. It was too watered down. Then I found film and it blew me away," he says. "It’s really special."
Reeves buys his cameras used, sometimes from Goodwill. "But recently, they’ve really increased their prices," he says.
So far, owning a gallery has been a very positive experience for Reeves.
"There has been no drama whatsoever since we opened," he says. "Art is my life. This is what I care about and everything that I do now is art related."
Art Is For Lovers is open every Saturday and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.
Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.
Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.