Born in Phoenix, Arizona, Damon Lamar Reed moved to Chicago in 1996 to attend The School of the Art Institute. After receiving his B.F.A. in 1999, he became a full-time freelance artist making a career out of mural painting, illustration, graphic design, fine art, and teaching. Many of his murals and bricolages can be seen around the Midwest. Damon's work with various organizations such as Chicago Public Art Group and Art Resources in Teaching has allowed him to work with young aspiring artists, as well as to perfect his own creative designs. His completed murals have been sponsored by LISC Chicago, Lawndale Christian Development Corporation, Dev Corp North, Sears, Allstate, and Children's Memorial Hospital.
In 2001, Reed attended Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. This residency program and the Camille Cosby Scholarship helped to accelerate creativity and maturity in his artwork. Based on that work, Kerry James Marshall selected him to take part in his exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art. Damon also place in the top three of the Black Creativity art show, hosted by the Museum of Science and Industry, and has been in many other exhibitions.
Since then, Reed has been building his portfolio to combine music with his visual arts skills. As a recording artist, Reed is working on the follow-up to his nationally distributed album He Heard My Cry. This album and his new quilt series will solidify his voice in the art and music world.
Damon Reed Artist Statement
I believe that there are certain ingredients that make up a great work of art. First, it should look beautiful. Art that is not aesthetically pleasing is similar to a song with a terrible beat. However, I do know that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I create beauty by making a well-researched design using thought out color schemes, patterns, figures, and other elements. The beauty in a piece of art first catches an audience’s attention. Secondly, it should have a purpose. An advertisement should sell the product. A social awareness piece should educate the community. Social, political, and spiritual concerns have always been important to me and my paintings have always highlighted that. Now it is time for me to dive deeper into my spirit. I want my new artwork to raise brows and make people think. I have something meaningful, important, inspirational and insightful to say, and I want the world to take my words and artwork to heart. At present, I have been working mostly in acrylic and still use oil and pastels from time to time. I am starting to approach many of my paintings, murals, and bricolages like storyboard quilts. My artwork consists of different patterns and elements that tell a story. This is actually my rebuilding stage. It's a time for me to experiment more. I am not so much trying to make a good painting, but trying to learn and grow from my artwork.
I get inspiration from a number of sources: The Bible, old photographs from family albums, songs with a message that align with my beliefs, my own lyrics (which I have started to incorporate into my paintings), and everyday life. My aim is to show the world that this 'Hip-Hop' generation is not completely lost. In my paintings I uplift people, showing them there is a way out of the darkness. If one person or child can look at one of my creations or at my life as an example and decide to empower him or herself, then I have made my mark on the world.