b. 1971 in Woburn, MA; lives in Stockholm, Sweden
Stockholm-based Brian Rea is a highly acclaimed illustrator known for his unmistakable style and versatility. He gained widespread recognition for his illustrations in The New York Times’ “Modern Love” column, where his visual storytelling enhances the emotional depth of personal essays. Rea’s work is marked by minimalistic yet bold figures that eschew preciousness and venture into the unexplored. Beyond the realm of editorial illustration, Rea’s creative reach extends to books, magazines, fashion, film, and public art installations. His distinctive style seamlessly merges hand-drawn elements with digital techniques, yielding illustrations that are both whimsical and emotionally resonant.
For his first project with the Tamarind Institute, Rea engaged in a remote collaboration with our team of printers, led by Tamarind Master Printer Valpuri Remling. Working in tandem with Senior Printer Lindsey Sigmon and Apprentice Printer Julia Marco, they produced a set of five lithographs. Commencing his drawings in 2021, the printing process reached its culmination in 2023. Remarkably, despite the challenges posed by a global pandemic and the geographic distances involved, the project reached its fruition. Each individual piece serves as a testament to Rea’s versatility, his sense of humor, and his wholehearted embrace of the collaborative process.
As the designated weekly illustrator for the Modern Love column in the New York Times, his artistic portfolio has graced exhibitions in prominent cities such as Paris, New York, Los Angeles, Seoul, Mexico City, and Barcelona, notably at the Fundació Joan Miró. Among the distinguished roster of his clientele are industry giants like Apple, Marni, BMW, Penguin Books, The New Yorker, Variety, Süddeutsche Zeitung, Herman Miller, Vanity Fair, Warby Parker, and Google. In addition to his illustrious career as an artist, Brian Rea holds the position of Adjunct Associate Professor at the Art Center College of Design and is a distinguished member of the Alliance Graphique Internationale. His inaugural authored work, “Death Wins a Goldfish” (Chronicle Books), earned a nomination for an Eisner Award and secured a television option. Most recently, his collaborative effort with Lucienne Brown, “Fixing Flamingos,” was published in the autumn of 2023.