**Update** You can help fund Leon Reid IV's project by making a donation through his kickstarter page. Click the link for more information http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/leonreid/tourist-in-chief-public-art-installation-by-leon-r
The time has come to get to know a few of our AiOP 2011 artists who will make 14th street a bit more lively during the first week of October. First stop: Leon Reid IV, a graffiti artist / commission based sculptor who plans to make you smile and question your knowledge of history during the festival. New Yorkers tend not to pay attention of their surroundings. Safe to say his project will do the trick to stop you and make you think. History? Humor? Thinking? What exactly does he have in mind? Well it involves a statue of a very famous historical figure. Intrigued? Read on and get to know him better.
|Leon Reid, IV, photo provided by artist|
AiOP: Tell us about you?
LR: My name is Leon Reid IV, I am a public artist operating out of Brooklyn, NY. I grew up as a teenage graffiti artist, writing under the tag VERBS in the mid 90's. I came to NYC to attend Pratt Institute in '98 where I was surrounded by a completely new environment and open to new influences. During this time, I began to break away from traditional graffiti to the point where I had to use a different name altogether, I chose DARIUS JONES as my pen name. As Darius, I began making sculptures out of steel and hammer drilling them directly into the pavement -all while disguised as a daytime construction worker. I didn't know it then, but years later I was told that what I was creating was 'street art'
My background in graffiti and street art have brought me where I am today, a commission based sculptor working in the public realm. My past forays have taught me to react to every site differently, to find the uniqueness embedded in each space and enhance it with a work that speaks to the common pedestrian. My goal as an artist is to change the way the commoner views their environment.
|"The Great Recession" (2009)|
This work is similar to one of my previous interventions called "True Yank", permitted by the city of Manchester, U.K. As was the case with "True Yank", "Tourist-In-Chief" will inspire people to re-discover who Washington was personally and his place in NYC history (he was inaugurated on Wall Street)
|Leon Reid IV "True Yank" , Photo by Ian Williams|