Leon Reid IV Wants You To Know About Homeless Soldiers
Leon Reid IV, the artist who wants to stick a 60-foot spider on the Brooklyn Bridge, is best known for his public works.
But he's recently started working on a private collection, "Welcome Home Soldier," to highlight foreclosure and homelessness faced by American soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. (These photos, kindly provided by Reid, are examples of the series.)
"'Welcome Home Soldier' is mostly intended for private view," Reid told the Voice. "People don't see this kind of stuff from me very often. Usually, my work is very accessible, touchable, and feelable."
Compared to some of his public works, which tend to require a lengthy vetting process, the Pratt-trained Brooklyn resident says that these 6 inch-by-4 inch-by 6 inch sculptures are an "expression of me at my freest."
Asked about his inspiration for the series, Reid told us: "Earlier this year, I was in an airport terminal coming back to NYC from Cincinatti, and I saw this soldier waiting in line and then I heard about all the terrible foreclosure crises and I thought: 'Where is this guy going?' He's coming back from Iraq or Afghanistan and he might not have a home to go to. Even though this work is a work of my imagination, it's plausible they might not have a place to go. It's my job as an artist to express what's going on in America as I see it, and this is just an example of that."
Reid also said that the Hundred Story House -- a brownstone-shaped, outdoor lending library -- is going forward as planned.
That project, a collaboration with documentary filmmaker Julia Marchesi -- should launch this summer, he said.
For more info on these projects, visit Reid's website.
Follow Victoria Bekiempis @vicbekiempis.