Inspirational mural artist Damon Lamar Reed uses his art to convey the rich cultural legacy of the local neighborhoods he represents in his paintings and murals. Reed’s artwork can be seen on the walls of notable galleries, but plenty of it is available for free to the public. His nearly 100 murals can be found sprinkled throughout inner-city communities in Chicago.
“Good public art creates culture. It feeds the soul, it uplifts. Not everyone is going to a gallery, but if they walk by something I’ve created, it’ll have the same impact,” he noted. “I like to say that I bring the gallery to the neighborhood and I bring the neighborhood to the gallery. Because I believe what I do is museum or gallery quality art on walls, it’s just in a public platform.”
Find the locations of Damon Lamar Reed’s murals HERE.
Damon’s art goes leagues above enriching local communities with stirring works that characterize the area’s diverse cultural history. His latest artistic undertaking is a project that goes beyond creating stunning visual displays, his paintings actually take an active role in helping locate missing women.
Reed was inspired to paint women that have disappeared, after his mother shared a social media post memorializing the 1984 murder of his aunt and two young female cousins. Nearly four decades later, their case has gone cold, and the person who took their lives was never held accountable for their deaths.
“A lot of these families are just in limbo,” he said. “Still Searching is saying that we are remembering these women. Some of them have kind of been forgotten, they haven’t been in the media, they haven’t been talked about, but yet they are still missing.”
Find out MORE about Reed’s family tragedy.
What started out as a way to pay tribute to victims and help their family’s realize that the women were not forgotten, advanced into a city funded initiative that attempts to get the public invested in finding victims who have disappeared.
“I do it to raise awareness, I do it to bring honor, and I do it to create something beautiful,” he said about the paintings. “I want to show the world that, yes, we are still searching, and we’re gonna keep going until we find answers, until we find resolution.”
Check out Damon’s YouTube Showcase.
The Still Searching project paints the faces of missing women, whose cases typically do not get media attention, extremely visible on buildings in the communities where they vanished from. In addition to their portraits, Damon’s artwork includes QR codes with critical information about the women, and contact information for the local police department in charge of their cases.
“I feel like the art has moved to civic engagement,” Reed added. “I’m painting women that are missing, but it’s about keeping safe the women that are here and aren’t missing. When the idea came to me, I thought it was a big project. Sometimes you can have a good idea, but then sometimes you can have a God idea.”