By BRIANNA REID
ATLANTA — Brian Reid, a 22-year-old Georgia native, has made quite the name for himself in the art scene in Knoxville and Maryville, Tennessee.
Reid was inspired in 2012 by his own journey as a member of the LGBT community to make art that had a much deeper meaning, comforting to those struggling to live as their true selves. During his senior year in high school, Reid started going by The Pride Artist.
Currently, Reid is working on his biggest painting yet: a 10 feet by 7 feet mural that he was commissioned to paint by Maryville College. The painting will be featured in the college’s admission building and will be one of the first things new students and faculty see upon arrival at the campus, located in Maryville, Tennessee.
“[It’ll be called] ‘Pride Artist’ because I think it’s an interesting name,” he said. “And because I knew I wanted to showcase my work on a large scale and impactful platform such as pride parades.”
Reid promotes equality through his company
In 2014, Reid attended the Knoxville, Tennessee, and Atlanta pride parades, where he had a booth at both events. He sold his artwork and his merchandise from his company that he created in 2014 called, Equalizer Co.
“The purpose of my clothing and merchandise company is to spread the message of equality,” he said. “And to get my artwork out to those who need to see it in hopes that it may empower and help them on their own personal journey to acceptance.”
The company sells a variety of things such as bumper stickers with the phrases “Love Wins” and “Unity.” It also sells a variety of T-shirts, some of which have Reid’s artwork on them.
Some of the shirts read “Non-Judgment Day Is Coming” and “Not Just Another Hot Mess.” So far, the T-shirt that reads “Not Just Another Hot Mess” has been the one Reid can barely keep in stock because of its popularity among his customers.
“My ‘Not Another Hot Mess’ shirt is my favorite shirt ever,” said Emily Lundy, a frequent follower of Reid’s art. “I got it at Atlanta Pride, and I feel so proud to support such an inspiring company and message.”
Reid’s art reaches thousands
In February of 2015, Reid began drawing a T-shirt design for the 2016 Knoxville Pride Parade. While his design was not chosen to be the official design for the parade, Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero asked to have the design painting displayed in her office, where it currently hangs along side of another painting done by Reid: “Day Dream.”
In June 2016, Reid kicked off his “Pride Tour.” The tour started at the pride parade in Indianapolis, Illinois, and will end on Oct. 23, 2016, at the pride parade in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The tour gives Reid a chance to form and maintain deep bonds with not only his customers but the people who make up the community that means so much to him. It fuels and is a key part in his creative process, Reid said.
From TV interviews, major commissions and drawings for people such as The University of Tennessee’s head football coach, Butch Jones, Reid is no stranger to the attention, but he hopes and continues to strive for the attention he receives to shed a light on the continued need for understanding and equality.