Sophia Reed’s work challenges the traditional function of portraiture by creating an unusual perspective that incorporates scenes from everyday life. She primarily uses unusual framing techniques to lead the viewer toward a visual experience that explores art history, the abject, the provisional and the everyday. Reed received a BFA from the University of Central Missouri in 2014 and has studied and taught in New York.
Introduce yourself and describe your work and the genre you work in.
I graduated from the University of Central Missouri in 2014 with a Bachelors of Fine Arts and another degree in Art Education. After graduation I moved to New York City for a couple years to learn from exposure to a new environment while challenging and stepping fully into my art practice. In 2016 I decided to move back to Kansas City in order to focus further on my work in a city that was more affordable and livable. I now live in Kansas City, KS and work in Kansas City, MO. I have a day job as an Assistant Distiller, the rest of my time is spent in my artist studio.
In undergrad I spent most of my time painting in oils, more recently I have started using an airbrush which gives a better sense of atmosphere in my work. This past summer I was able to take a Digital Fabrication intensive at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago where I learned how to use a laser cutter. I have been using the laser cutter in order to make unique frames and play with my old ways of working using a new media.
Talk about the work on view. What would you like people to know about it? Do you have a favorite piece?
In these works I am reimagining portraiture to be more inclusive, everyday images of the world I see. The important thing to know is a lot of these frames are inspired by famous works of art but I change the subject matter whether its a man holding a flower or a woman cutting her finger nails its about a more recognizable image. While in Chicago this summer I was disappointed by the images that filled the walls, they did not represent the world I saw. One kind of people group was represented, those with wealth are the common figures in portraiture of the past. I don’t have a favorite piece but Nail Clipper is the first Airbrush piece I ever did. King and Queen was made for a man I met at Home Depot. Mona in Space was the result of a frustrating day where the model I was originally going to paint never showed.
What’s the most challenging thing about your creative process?
Being an artist is not easy, it is the thing I most love yet it rarely pays. I have to spend a lot of time doing something I had to learn to be skilled at in order to make money in life. I have had countless jobs trying to make enough to pay my bills. Art making takes time and its hard sometimes to give so much of your time to someone else. Even though its hard, I am thankful to have a job. The creative process is not always as glamorous as people might think, I spend a lot of hours taking care of logistical everyday tasks in order to get a few hours into the studio. Its worth it though, it keeps me going and I am incredibly fortunate to be able to express myself through art.
Who are the other artists you look to for inspiration?
To name a few: Marisol Escobar, Robin F Williams, Catherine Haggarty, Anthony Cudahy, Nina Chanel Abney, Katsushika Hokusai, Titus Kaphar, Emilie Stark-Menneg.
What are your book/music/movie recommendations?
Books: Homegoing by Yah Gyasi, Another Country by James Baldwin, The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer
Music: Waxahatchee, Yo La Tengo, Tops, Car Seat Headrest, Little Dragon, No Name’s Telephone album.
Movies: Maniac the Netflix series, Black Panther, Lady Bird