Le Slim Artiste

In vision, passion, and purpose Raymond Berry has set himself apart from the crowd. The VCU student and Washington, D.C. native painter, photographer and sketch artist creating under the moniker- Lé Slim Artiste, has had an interest in art making since his years in the second grade.

I started drawing everything I had seen on [the] T.V., Pokemon and Dragonball Z, [etc.].”

Since graduating from the Duke Ellington School of the Arts, for visual arts Raymond has let his creativity manifest from visual arts to long-term ideas. His sense of perception leads him to pick up on natural  patterns and designs throughout day, to be used as inspiration for his work. Lé Slim Artiste sat down with Rich City as we dug deeper into what drives him as an artist.

To start off our conversation we wanted to know what sets apart an artistic outlook from the beginning. There is a choice group of people with the gifted mindset of an artistic outlook, seeing the world as a collection of creative interpretations.

“ An artistic outlook on life is having the understanding that there is order and pattern in anything and everything you see in life. Just looking around this room I see the way the patterns arrange themselves, the different perspectives.” Raymond said “Then in terms of visually… when I look at life I find patterns in everything, I’m able to associate things based off of visual representation.

When asked about his inspiration he noted a few sources. Raymond responded,

I draw inspiration from different things; pop culture, things I see around me, experiences I’ve been through. I draw inspiration from other artists too”.

After looking through his work and becoming familiar we noticed a trend in the portraits; faces, almost all faces.

He highlighted one portrait, made digitally with a tablet drawing pad. Trill Young Mrs. was the name of it. The piece featured a young lady, joyously smoking a tobacco pipe, with a gold grill in her mouth.

As detailed accounts of emotionally striking faces continued we asked what made him so interested in the face.

The faces have always been a big interest to me.” Raymond responded “Your face shows a lot of emotion, the subtleties of emotion can be seen in people’s faces. I often look at people’s faces when I’m talking to them and trying to read their emotion.

He brought out a portrait of The Weeknd with him titled XO, that was painted 2 years ago during a campaign he had to get his artwork noticed by his celebrity muses. This bold painting of the (then) upcoming R&B singer is highlighted by the contrast of the colorful balloons and vibrant Toronto skyline the to the crisp background of the painting.

To be such a perceptive artist we had to ask if the city of Richmond had an effect on his work. He agreed with the notion and told us  “I can say I’m influenced by my environment which boils down to hipster types, and a good mix of Virginia people. I have a more urban, rural, hipster quality to my work.” Raymond explained “If anything rubbed off on me it would be seeing other Richmond artists’ work day to day and comparing mine to theirs.

Lastly we touched on how art can influence. While there exists negative media outlets for entertainment such as World Star Hip Hop, he wants to create a media source to combat that. “We need more people pushing positivity anyways” he said.

He has the aspiration to start a movement. The hopeful movement called R3naissance Nouveau, is meant to be put in place to show the youth that there can be positivity to art.

“It’d have to be the youth, cuz older people [are] stuck in their ways” 

Raymond explained.

We have high hopes for Raymond Berry moving forward. A full collection of his work can be found on his personal site, or on his Instagram or his Twitter.

View Raymond's gallery here.

- Josh Edwards