In the Mind of Respected Painter Justin Reed

Meet Painter (Illustrator) ArtByReed

   As a person, an artist, a painter, and an illustrator, who creates from a blank canvas on the regular-How important is it to you that you remain original in your content that you produce?  

As an artist originality is where it all began for me. It doesn’t matter if I am sitting down sketching, creating a wall mural, or even completing a canvas my main goal as a creative is to always give all my art-pieces my eccentric flavor to them. I also try to paint or draw things that have never been done or could never be done.  My ideal painting would be a giant-robot-monkey-lizard in outer-space. For me I think those sort of paintings are way more fun than your average portrait painting. Nonetheless I do think that the consistent original product keeps you in high demand. When people know 1,000 different artists, they typically go to for a portrait or something simple, but when they come to me they know the muzzle is off and they can bring me anything and I’ll make it happen. 

You recently created/hosted an art-group exhibition in the city of Atlanta, Ga called @ArtpocalypseAtlanta(pictures of event below). This summer you will be creating another art group exhibition in Philadelphia, Pa. What was your inspiration behind this exhibition?

Yeah, I’m extremely excited about Artpocalypse in Atlanta. The first edition was a really positive turnout. My initial thought process behind it was to get the artistic community where it needed to be in Atlanta. ATL is considered “Black Hollywood,” we have made landmarks in so many different creative avenues (movies, music, etc) but not art. After traveling the country and doing different art shows I saw how behind we really were compared to other major cities like (NY, LA, Miami, and Philly). I know wholeheartedly that dope art lives here. I want to give those artists that live in ATL a platform to show  that. That initial spark ended up matriculating into our first Artpocalypse. While discussing my goal with one of my great friends DJ Waters who lives in Philly we both realized that it wasn’t just Atlanta that needed this.This summer, we decided to expand it to the Philadelphia area too. The goal is to be able to take Artpocalypse nation wide and provide a platform for artists to succeed, network, and showcase. 

ARTIST WANTED: Are you an artist or creative in the ATL area? Contact Artpocalyspe ATL (Click Link) to be apart of black art history.

How can we support this positive platform you have created for the public and art lovers alike?

There’s a saying that I think every artist has probably heard which is “Buy from living artists, the dead ones don’t need it.” Everyone loves art, it’s everywhere around us in every facet imaginable. Art can be in the way your car is shaped or it can even be the  layout of your house. When it comes to actual art people have a very skewed idea of it. I don’t want to rant but it is very fundamental that you support the artists that you know. Being an artist is one of the hardest jobs in the world to maintain. Always remember to check out your local art shows because art shows are always an amazing night out. And if you so happen to see any Artpocalypse flyers or social media posts in your city come enjoy a night with us that you’ll never forget.

What does “being creative” mean to you?

Man….creativity is such a huge deal to me because I think it gets misconstrued so often. Many people draw, paint, and even illustrate. Believe it or not most of them are not creative or creators for that matter. Creativity to me means you can take nothing and turn  that nothing into something. I strive to do what’s never been done in a way no one ever thought it was possible. Personally if I created something then realized someone else created it before me I would throw mine away. Originality and creativity go hand in hand, and many people lose sight of that. My creativity is what keeps me going so at the end of the day when I want to give up, or I get tired…it’s that spark of creativity that makes me get up and do it. Oftentimes I think back to all the famous creators who made me want to start drawing (I.e Walt Disney, Hannah Barbera, Aaron McGruder) they were all creative beings. They didn’t grab images off Google to remix them slightly then pass it off as their own. So why would I?

Can you describe the time when you first realized that creating was something you absolutely had to do?

I would say creating was something I absolutely had to do between the ages of 18 and 19 years oldIt’s hard to pinpoint an exact time when I realized that I was even good at creating. I did grew up re-drawing all my old favorite cartoons over and over again. After doing it so much back then it made it began to bore me. So that is when I started to create my own characters. After some time it led me to learn how to do my own compositions, how to master a perspective of a piece, how to master my own layouts and color schemes. I understood that no matter what other avenue I was considering I would always be a freelance artist as my back up plan, so and as I got older I decided to stop making it my back up plan and to really pursue it. 

What’s your favorite thing you’ve ever created? 

It’s hard for me to say my favorite thing that I’ve ever created just because I get so emotionally attached to my paintings. A lot of times people offer to buy them immediately after I finish and it’s so rare I can do it just because I love to look at them. But I did a painting called “The Standoff” where a little boy is standing face to face with a pretty massive police officer. And it was something that I had a lot of passion in doing just because of the injustices that I see in my community everyday. It was one of the first paintings I ever did that I felt like I accurately depicted every facet of the painting I wanted to.

What’s the best advice you ever had about how to be more creative?

Surprisingly I’ve never really gotten any amazing advice in regards to creativity. I think it’s hard to give someone that sort of advice. Even from another artist I’d probably have a hard time explaining to someone how to be more creative. I do read many books in my spare time. I specifically read books regarding older artists and their autobiographies. Picasso is someone I find amazing. Not necessarily in style or his actual works (which are amazing) but in his mentality. There was a story where someone asked him “why did you paint that?” Picasso response was “because I wanted to.” It may seem like a simple answer but for me it describes the best way to go about art. Some artists care too much about what’s popular, or what people may like, or even if anyone would buy their art. I believe you should create because it’s what you want to do. No matter what that is. If they do buy it that’s a blessing but regardless if they do so or not you need to express yourself for you. Honestly that’s the point of being an artist. That’s probably the best advice I can think of. Do art because it means something to you, not because it may sell.

Follow Reed via Instagram(click link) to catch up with him and to see more.