“What I love about Keanu and our exchange is that we're pushing each other to build new roads,” she said of the actor
The accomplished visual artist, 50, attended the Los Angeles Beverly Arts Icon Awards on Friday sans Reeves, 59, and when asked if it is harder or easier to tackle red carpets alone, gave a thoughtful answer.
“The good news about falling in love as an adult is that I had built my own career by the time that my relationship had begun,” she tells PEOPLE. “I feel very confident in the relationship on the red carpet. I feel confident on it alone.”
"It's interdependent and independent in the best ways,” she adds.
While Grant, an honoree at the ceremony, hit the red carpet solo at The Four Seasons Hotel in Los Angeles, she has been photographed at several events with Reeves since the pair made their public debut as a couple in 2019.
When asked how she and the John Wick star — who started off as friends and collaborators — interact with each other’s professional environments, Grant began her response by recalling a moment she felt stuck creatively.
“In a moment of frustration in my life, I once said, ‘Sometimes I feel like a Maserati stuck in traffic,' that I have this big engine, but, for a variety of reasons, that I couldn't ever go,” she tells PEOPLE. “And I know a lot of people feel frustrated in their lives, that they're not able to run their engine.”
She adds: “I think every creative person feels that way.”
“What I love about Keanu and our exchange is that we're pushing each other to build new roads,” she says. “Seeing the other person's problem-solving is inspiring, like, ‘Oh, well, okay, this one, that's a cul-de-sac. How do I try this other thing?’ ”
“He's such an inspiration to me,” she continues. “He's so creative, he's so kind. He works so hard.”
Grant also shares that “storytelling is at the heart” of what both she and her actor boyfriend do.
“My work is much more of a private performance, but I have a text that I interpret in the studio into a painting, into an object,” she says. “He takes the text in private and then turns it into a performance in public. There's a relationship. We're both at the heart readers and researchers. We both care about people and we care about characters.”
Grant went on to compare her and Reeves’ creative worlds using a metaphor.
“I think there's a lot of similarities,” she began. “Sometimes I feel like, to make a film, as we're seeing now in the strike, that it's a cruise ship. Everyone is dependent on everyone else. You can't go off and— being an artist, maybe at the beginning of my career, I was in a kayak on the sea of creativity. Now maybe it's a small speedboat, but it's still a lot more nimble.”
“I think that is very inspiring for him,” she said of Reeves and the “cruise ship”-like nature of making a movie.
She continues, “To make a film, you require hundreds of people. To be an artist, you don't. You require one. You require a community to get the work into the world, but not to actually make it. I think part of the inspiration is the differences of scale.”
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According to Grant, her art has “absolutely” changed since she began dating Reeves.
“I had a studio visit a few years ago, and this very kind, very high-level person said, 'I can see that your work has gotten happier,’ ” she remembers. “That's real. We're all human beings. We're animals. We're expressing from where we are and certainly feeling happier. I think the work is happier.”
Both Grant and Reeves dedicated their Friday nights to art. The Matrix star had to miss the ceremony to perform with his band Dogstar, according to Grant.
“I'm really proud,” she says. “I am a huge Dogstar fan. I had the great pleasure of going to their first public show and because I've been listening to the latest album for quite some time, I was one of the only people in the audience who knew all the lyrics. That was really cool. It's fun. It's beyond fun.”
She continues, “I was dancing to all the lyrics and then I looked around and I was like, ‘Nobody has heard the album except for me and a few people.’ It's been a real pleasure to see the guys come back together, to be so creative and supportive of one another.”
Grant says she is “so proud” and “happy” for Reeves’ alternative rock band, which reunited this year for the first time in 20 years.
“I'm glad they're able to do it,” she says, adding that she thinks it’s “really great that Keanu has the ability to pivot to being a musician” amid the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and SAG-AFTRA strikes.
“They had been playing music and rehearsing and they had already recorded most of the album before the strike,” she adds. “What it opened up was more time to go on the road.”
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