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Artist Uses Fort Greene Park as Outdoor Gallery

By Janet Upadhye | May 31, 2014 8:18am | Updated on June 2, 2014 8:30am
 Jeffrey Reid sells his large-scale paintings outdoors in varying places in Fort Greene.   
Jeffrey Reid
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FORT GREENE — Jeffrey Reid moved to New York City to take a shot at displaying his large-scale paintings in a gallery.

But Reid said he has been rejected from art spaces in Manhattan, Yonkers and Brooklyn, in part because he had a hard time with the online applications that many galleries use.

Instead, he has made the great outdoors his gallery, setting up shop outside Fort Greene Park.

In April, Reid, 54, began driving his artwork from a storage unit in Yonkers that he can no longer afford, to Fort Greene Park, where he displays the 5-by-7 foot paintings.

His works consist primarily of portraits of famous African-American leaders and artists including the Obamas, Spike Lee, Bill Cosby and Malcolm X.

They have been featured in the windows of the Flatiron Building and the “R” Gallery in Chicago, and he sold a portrait of Miles Davis for $1,000, he said.

"The majority of the collection is of dark-skinned people because of my personal affiliation," the Art Institute of Chicago graduate says on his website. "I consider my responsibility towards my brothers to be uplifting, informative, and suggesting reconsideration of our struggles to survive and flourish."

On several recent afternoons, dozens of people gathered in Fort Greene Park to view the Chicago native's portraits.

Mary Tune, a retired social worker who was driving past the park in early May, turned the car around to meet Reid.

"When I saw the eyes in his paintings they jumped out at me," she said. "They came alive."

To visit Reid's website visit Idol Portraits.