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Widely known for his iconic artwork for the Sex Pistols, Reid is a far more complex artist than simply the safety-pinned face of Punk Rock. He embodies a revolutionary spirit of a traditional English nature - in his work one can invoke the rebellions of Wat Tyler, the Levellers and various subcultures across the ages who sought to offer an alternative political and spiritual model.
Having met the infamous future Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McClaren at Croydon Art School during the 60s, Reid became connected to the Situationists - an international organisation of social revolutionaries, many of whom were avant-garde artists. This led to the running of the radical political publishing outfit Suburban Press, where he specialised in producing literature for anarchists and women’s groups. This is where he created his famous ‘ransom note’ style - a style that Reid brought from the underground world of fanzines and subversive magazines to the general conscious with his work for The Sex Pistols. McClaren recruited Reid via telegram to produce the infamous artwork for the band, Reid having moved away from London for a more rural life. Working closely with the Pistols (even co-writing the lyrics for Anarchy in the UK), Reid produced the most iconic images of the Punk movement which defined a generation - God Save The Queen, Holidays in the Sun, Anarchy in the UK, Nevermind the Bollocks and Pretty Vacant.
Although it is tempting to connect Reid with an urban setting, in fact he is greatly influenced by alternative spiritual belief systems such as Shamanism, Druidry and Magic, with their connections to ancient English folk culture. His work continues in this spiritual and political vein, constantly challenging politicians, protesting nuclear weapons, the criminal justice system and even other artists such as Damien Hirst. His influence can be found in the work of urban artist Shepard Fairey, with whom he has recently collaborated with and his music connection continues with artwork protesting the imprisonment of political Russian band Pussy Riot.