Tell us about yourself, who are you, where are you from, and what do you do?
My name is Derek Daniel Reformat. I’ve been involved in art my entire life which can be divided into 3 phases. As a child growing up, it came in the form of art class at school. This included drawing, painting, and sculpting but was performed by assignment only. During college, I forwent art classes in favor of chemistry or biology but I kept a blue journal of sketches, which I still have. Some of those drawings went on to become inspiration for paintings later, which I began to take up while in medical school at New York University in 2007. I have been painting ever since.
Originally from Buffalo, NY, I have been living in New York City for 10 years now. I am in my 5th year of plastic surgery residency training at New York University.
How would you describe your style?
Imagine F. Scott Fitzgerald hired an illustrator for one of his novels. Artistically, I would describe it as mildly abstract portraits or city/landscapes in a style where Art Nouveau meets Pop Art with a focus mostly on unique content, line and contrast.
What’s your inspiration?
Living in New York City, fashion in the first half of the 20th century, The Great Gatsby, black and white contrast and the derby bowler hat are important inspirations.
What is art to you?
As in science, where a great research study leads to more questions not necessarily definitive answers, a true example of artwork inspires others to create.
What does your typical day look like?
At this point, it is spent largely in the hospital operating.
How have your surroundings influenced your work?
Living in New York City has had a great influence. In fact, the first painting I created (on my own, and not required for a class) in 2007 was based on a perspective I had while studying at New York University on Washington Square.
What do you hope to accomplish with your work?
I hope to inspire others to create pieces of their own. That could be a piece of art, fashion, jewelry, etc.
What do you want others to take away from your work?
See question above.
Any words of wisdom to aspiring artists who want to pursue a similar career?
I am one of the artists who was told to “get a real job, a day job first” and took heed of that advice. That is what I am doing now, training as a surgeon. In a sense, it makes it less stressful because I am not financially dependent on creating (and selling) my pieces. I can do it purely for the passion of creating. Nothing else. The downside, of course, is that I am not able to devote all my time to painting.
What are your thoughts on art school?
Since I am mostly a self-taught painter at this point, largely and regrettably forgetting the various supplies and techniques I used in grade and secondary school, I see value in learning new perspectives and methods. I would consider enrolling someday far from now.
Have any future aspirations that you’d like to share?
To illustrate a cover for the New Yorker magazine.
What art supplies do you use?
Mostly acrylic on canvas. Some of my work online has been modified from an original painting or drawing using Adobe Illustrator to affect the colors, patterns, or duplications, etc.
Find Derek Daniel Reformat’s website website.