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 Arien Reed

he/him, they/them

I am an invisibly disabled dork who has been doodling since I was a disastrously misunderstood female child. After 6 years of working as the budget technician for the Disabled Students Programs & Services at Fresno City College, in 2022 I left to become the full-time caretaker of my elderly in-laws, and began pursuing my passion in art as a means of supporting my family from home. I also volunteer remotely for Trans-E-Motion, a transgender resource and advocacy organization serving California's Central Valley.

My education in art started with experimentation, moving on to a pile of used books, and then to online tutorials. Today, I'm currently enrolled in the Milan Art Institute, where I'm studying oil painting and mixed media. 

I enjoy painting people who are gender-diverse or intersex, especially those who have had difficult lives. As a man whose identity is rarely understood, I enjoy seeing the value in others and helping everyone else see it, too.

Influences, Inspirations, Style

My love of vibrant contrast began when someone photographed my partner and I for the first time, and I saw how beautiful his brown skin looked against my whiteness. My passion for human equity began when I was 11, marching around my school protesting the rise of anti-Arab racism after 9/11. Today, my style is a mix of vibrant contrast and love for everyone whose body, identity, or expression defies norms and normative assumptions.

My work often features loving, creepy, controlling, or aggressive hands, probably because of my violent past and living my entire life under America's relentless and ever-changing body-policing laws. I have always felt like there are countless hands on my body, even though they know little about me, and I just want them to let go. As an artist, I don't know what else to do but to take the source of my struggle and make it beautiful.

"Art is our weapon. Culture is a form of resistance."  Shirin Neshat

The Evolution of My Aesthetic

I can't remember a time in my life when I wasn't doodling. During my teens, after surviving much violence, art saved my life. I felt dirty, damaged, and worthless, and I expressed these feelings through drawings of suffering angels or shackled women. I liked to imagine my abusers seeing my art and having a change of heart, or understanding the importance of consent. Making art gave me something to live for. I didn't want to leave life until I finished my current drawing, and thankfully I came up with ideas faster than I could draw them. When I got into drugs, making good art gave me something to be sober for. When I began leaving home at age sixteen, though, my art ground to an abrupt halt that would last for a decade while I focused on feeding myself and ending my own homelessness.

After coming out as trans in my mid-twenties, I started making fine art and street murals of TPOC figures to help me feel less alone. An art teacher told me artists who had difficult childhoods tend to be perfectionists with control issues. I suppose that's why I'm instinctively drawn to realism and expressiveness, but also find the chaos of spray paint to be so thrilling. At first, I made only realistic fine art or expressive street art, but over time, my true style has emerged as a blend of both. In mixed media works, I like to re-use materials I find on downtown city streets, like cardboard or warning labels, because they remind me of the years I spent on the streets, too hungry and busy surviving to figure out I was trans. I think difficult pasts are a strength, not a source of shame, and that even damage can be beautiful.

How My Disabilities & Gender Affect My Work

I struggle daily with pain throughout my spine, shoulders, neck, and head, due to both scoliosis and a lumbar fracture, all of which is worst when sitting. I cannot sit at, or lean over, a table like other artists. I have to stand in good posture to keep my pain tolerable, and spend a lot of my income each month on supplements that help the pain naturally. I often wear a back brace and also listen to music to distract myself from the pain. When it gets really bad, though, I resort to cannabis (mainly CBD) so I can hold a paintbrush or raise my arm.

Transphobia is something I experience almost every time I leave home and I get some of it online too, which helps me understand what kind of art the world apparently needs most. Being trans wouldn't affect me as an artist if it weren't for the severity and prevalence of transphobia. At art shows, even ones catered to the LGBTQ2+ community, I'm targeted by drunk passerby asking "what" I am, or stalked by strangers. I will find someone staring with admiration at a painting and asking its price, only for them to literally run away when I mention that the subject is transgender. Even art marketing specialists have told me that so long as I paint trans people or am honest about my identity, I will never find success as an artist. Maybe they're right... but I love art, I believe in honesty, and diversity is what I find most beautiful in this world.

How to be Included

People who are gender-expansive or intersex can be featured in my work at no cost. Those who also happen to be BIPOC, undocumented, fat, old, an immigrant, disabled, or have experienced incarceration, foster care, rejection, homelessness, or violence/abuse, are especially encouraged to apply.




very taughtfull packaging I've been so happy when it arrived, the paintig is so beatyfull. thank you.

RJ DiCamillo

A really beautiful composition; I just love it! Shipped quickly and arrived in perfect condition. Highly recommended!

Grace Auld

Gorgeous & looks amazing on our wall



Happy Clients

I have sold over 100 prints, commissions, and original paintings in person and online.


5-Star Rating

94% of customers gave me a 5-star rating on Etsy and other sites, and 6% gave me a 4-star review.


Awards Won

"Androgynous (Unsilencing #3)" received first place in J. Mane Gallery's Monochrome Art Contest. I also won local art contests under my deadname before the age of 18.



I have completed 40 commissioned drawings, paintings, and murals. Excludes friend/family requests.

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Only the highest quality, lightfast, archival materials from trusted, long-established manufacturers are used in the creation of prints, original artworks, and embellished prints.


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