Muralist profile: Damon Lamar Reed 

Chicago artist Damon Lamar Reed. - MARK LEE
  • Chicago artist Damon Lamar Reed.
  • Mark Lee

Chicago muralist Damon Lamar Reed was commissioned to do a pair of murals on Dr. Martin Luther King Boulevard, at 27th and 30th streets. Reed learned of 46 For XLVI through the request for qualifications posted on the Internet last January. "I was honored to get it because there were a lot of good artists included," he says.

The building owner at the 27th Street location asked Reed to create images of Dr. King's dream being realized. "I didn't want just a big picture of King, so I included him in the context of being creative," Reed says. "I have people marching and King is in the middle, in color, while the other people are sepia tone."

When Reed receives a commission, he begins by researching historical imagery. "I look for images that spark my imagination and to get across the ideas I want to portray."

But, Reed says, he places the highest value on beauty. "When I do a mural, the most important thing is beauty. Some people get political or social, some are ambiguous. But, to me, if it's not first beautiful, then the message really doesn't mean anything. If you don't like looking at it, you won't get it."

Reed's goal is to bring joy to a community. "It's putting a smile on somebody's face, changing an attitude." Murals, he says, "add a lot of culture to the city. It's like a tourist attraction. People can ride around the city and see all these different art projects. It enriches the city by adding historical value to it."

Mural city: 46 for XLVI (Slideshow)
Mural city: 46 for XLVI (Slideshow) Mural city: 46 for XLVI (Slideshow) Mural city: 46 for XLVI (Slideshow) Mural city: 46 for XLVI (Slideshow) Mural city: 46 for XLVI (Slideshow) Mural city: 46 for XLVI (Slideshow) Mural city: 46 for XLVI (Slideshow) Mural city: 46 for XLVI (Slideshow)

Mural city: 46 for XLVI (Slideshow)

The Super Bowl is the pretext for this ambitious project by the Arts Council of Indianapolis. Here are a couple dozen of the 46 murals.

By David Hoppe

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