Joseph Reed is a self taught artist who began painting in the mid '60s to decorate the bathroom in a house loaned to him and Kit. His first works were paintings of herbs, flowers and insects, executed in casein paint and Japanese ink on rice paper.

Taken by the fact that in photos and paintings of historical events people in crowds looked rather like insects, he began a series of ant paintings in the late '60s, around the time he devised the alphabets as a way to make large paintings by putting together several small ones. By this time he was working in acrylics on Masonite. Later he moved on to acrylic on gesso on aluminum panels, but in his long career, he has experimented with several media including gold leaf, etching, lithography and even painting exquisite insect miniatures on ivory scavenged from antique shops.

At a show in the Portal Gallery in London, his paintings began moving into the homes of the great and the near great, from the Duke of Bedford and science fiction novelist Brian W. Aldiss to actor Robin Williams and Jonathan Routh, the author of The Good Loo Guide. See Private Collections the artist in the 
 mid- to late-1960sHe followed the ant series with a series of infestations -- historic figures coated in insects, which his London gallery deemed "too creepy to show." This was, however, Reed's entree into portraits of various kinds. A painting of Custer sitting on Mrs. Whistler's lap led to a series of both famous figures in settings as wildly varied as Niagara Falls (Custer) and the old Pennsylvania Station (Mrs. Whistler).

By this time he was showing at galleries in New York, Washington, D.C. and New Delhi, India. (See exhibitions). Custer paintings gave way to memory paintings of his native St. Petersburg, FL. followed by a series of Florida houses, both shown at the Addison/Ripley Gallery in Washington, D.C., where his most recent series, First Ladies! In Space! and Chief Executives Under Water also opened. At the same time, Reed's alphabets, some sold from shows and others painted on commission, have grown in number. There are more than 150 of them in private collections and public institutions all over the United States.

An artist who refuses to be categorized, Reed has also designed and executed medals that include two likenesses of the late Sen. Daniel P. Moynihan (D-N.Y.), one of which hangs inside the main entrance of the Moynihan Courthouse, Center Street, Manhattan.

Reed's career goes well beyond the paintings. He is a recognized teacher and scholar who has published several books and is a professor of English and American Studies at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT.

-- Kit Reed --

Disneyland, 1975
In academic gown, 1988
Green shirt
In India
Kit Reed