Polymathic

Self-curated by Chicago-based artist Damon Lamar Reed

September 6 - December 15, 2017 / AACC Gallery

Polymathic meditates on human versatility and Reed uses diverse media including print, mosaic, poetry and music to create various artistic styles to help the onlooker discover themselves and their potential.

Polymathic meditates on human versatility, polyvalence and multidisciplinarity. Every individual born was created with potential for greatness. We confront problems. We seek solutions. Everyday we focus on one or the other. This decision binds the framework for the life we have created. With each situation that arises, a screwdriver might do the job today. Yet, tomorrow, a sledgehammer might be a better tool.

Chicago-based muralist and visual artist Damon Lamar Reed is ready to pull out his polymathic tool belt and go to work. He is a master of his craft in every aspect of the Creative Arts. Reed endeavors to use diverse media (paint, print, mosaic, poetry, music) and various artistic styles (from realism to abstract), which cause the onlooker to have an encounter between who they are and who they are purposed to be. As a public artist and rapper, Reed has never been tied to one artistic medium, but he stays true to one message: To birth the creativity for vision in others. From this scope a pencil drawing is no different from a cubist painting.

After graduating from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Reed began his career in the arts with a large focus on public art and art instruction. Many of his hundreds of murals can be seen throughout Chicago and surrounding areas. In 2013, Reed became the first artist to receive the “Gem of the Community” award from Archi-treasures for his ability to collaborate in a creative context. In 2016, he was honored at Voice of the Peoples (VOP) annual gala for his commitment to excellence. He currently works independently and with various organizations including Chicago Public Art Group, Archi-treasures and Beverly Arts Center. Reed is a true believer in the power of art and its ability to bring about change through its beauty.

Damon Lamar Reed Biography

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, illustrations, graphic design, fine art, and teaching. Many of his murals and bricolages can be seen around the Midwest. Damon’s work with various organization’s such as Chicago Public Art Group and Art Resources in Teaching has allowed him to work with young aspiring artists, as well as 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 Me Cry. This album and his new quilt series will solidify his voice in the art and music world.

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.

Damon Lamar Reed

Damon Lamar 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 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.” – Damon Lamar Reed.