British artist and radical activist Jamie Reid was born in 1947 and raised in Croydon, South London. Reid’s family was politically conscious and spiritually engaged, and his parents brought their children to nuclear disarmament and anti-apartheid rallies. “My grandfather and Scottish father were Druids and that was instilled in me alongside a socialist and anarchic background,” said Reid. “It's all part of a continuous story for me.”
In the late 1960s, Reid attended Croydon School of Art, where he first met Malcolm McLaren. Drawn together by a shared interest in the Situationist International’s avant-garde coalition of artists, writers and revolutionary thinkers, Reid and McLaren organized student protests in London and traveled to Paris at the tail end of the Left Bank’s student uprisings.
In 1970, Reid co-founded Suburban Press, an agitprop magazine confronting corruption and corporate development in Croydon. Unable to afford typesetting tools, Reid repurposed materials from existing newspapers towards his own anarchist ends. Cutting, pasting and Xeroxing, he developed a DIY approach that would soon become his signature, when – while farming off the coast of Scotland – he received a telegram from McLaren about a band he was managing that brought Reid back to London in early 1976.
Reid created the album artwork for The Sex Pistols’ first four singles (“Anarchy in the U.K.,” “God Save The Queen,” “Pretty Vacant” and “Holidays in the Sun,”) as well as the group’s only studio album, Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols. Reid’s iconoclastic décollage images – with ransom-note style lettering, vivid colors, historical and popular cultural references – are the defining visuals of the punk era. Reid is, “The person who really set typography alight in this country,” said British filmmaker, artist and gay rights activist Derek Jarman in 1992. “The way the typography is used, it’s aggressive and bright and absolutely of its time.”
In the decades following the punk movement, Reid’s activism has deepened. He’s rallied against Britain’s poll tax, Section 28, the 1994 Criminal Justice Act, and climate injustice with confrontational art and direct-action demonstration. Reid’s work has developed an expressive style, inspired by his Druidism and connection with the land. He lives in Liverpool, and often works out of the Florence Institute, a community center. “People could be very happy with fuck all,” Reid wrote in 2015. “Learn from the past. Live in the present. Look to the future.”
Supreme has worked with Jamie Reid on a collection for Spring 2021. The collection consists of a Varsity Jacket, Sweater, Shirt, Hooded Sweatshirt and T-Shirt.
Select pieces available May 6th.
Select pieces available in Japan May 8th.