Monday, February 1, 2010

Celebrity Artist Spotlight: Daphne Maxwell Reid

Daphne Maxwell Reid Fresh Prints Magazine Cover

Actress Daphne Maxwell Reid is probably best known for her role as Vivian Banks ("Aunt Viv") on the hit TV show "The Fresh Prince of Bel Air" with Will Smith. Her acting credits also include "Franks Place", which starred her husband, Tim Reid, "Sister, Sister", "Simon & Simon", "Snoops", "The Cosby Show", and many others. Daphne Maxwell Reid is also a clothing designer and a photographer. She recently released "Fresh Prints", a collection of limited edition, signed and numbered digital prints. The first collection, called "DOORS", is made up of photographs of portals, doors, gates and architectural details from her years of travel. Daphne Maxwell Reid's involvement in the arts doesn't end with photography. She also narrates a program called "Art on the Air" in conjunction with the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.

Terra Cotta Garden by Daphne Maxwell Reid
"Terra Cotta Garden" by Daphne Maxwell Reid

Signed numbered prints from the "DOORS" collection taken in Italy and in the Cape Verde Islands are available for purchase at Also, the "Fresh Prints" magazine, with images from the "DOORS" collection, is available at

Daphne has graciously agreed to answer a few questions for me about her work.

Lorrie: How long have you been interested in photography?

Daphne: Photography has been a central part of my life since childhood. My father, Green Maxwell, was a studied, but amateur photographer. His photographic collection in slides, of life in New York City from the forties until the nineties, is a prized treasure that I have inherited. I had a Brownie "box" camera as a child and have never been without a camera since. For reasons that can best be described as "childlike curiosity", I have been drawn to the mystery inherent in doors and passageways.

Lorrie: What is is about doors that inspired you to make them the subject of your first collection of photographs?

Daphne: When as young children, we begin to assert our independence by crawling and ultimately walking, we invariably head for the cabinet doors that are accessible at eye level. The curiosity inherent in all of us is triggered, and the door is pulled open. Once we get the hang of it, a life-long quest is started; exploring what is behind the door. That same curiosity is nurtured as we go through life traveling and exploring the world of mysteries within us and around us. I have always been a curious child and hope through this series of photographs, I can encourage that same sense of adventure in all who see them.

Lorrie: Will your future collections also focus on architectural subjects?

Daphne: Most likely. I have a degree in Interior Design and Architecture from Northwestern University and have always had a penchant for design elements and details.

Lorrie: Apparently your interests in art extend beyond photography. How did you get involved in the "Art on the Air" program?

Daphne: I had worked with the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts on a few video programs as on camera talent and the producers recognized that I had a great interest in art. The women I worked with at the Museum and I decided to try a two minute piece, secured the backing of the Museum and the funding, and began our journey. The writer, Ann Barriault, did such a wonderful job of describing the art, that my interpretation of it was simple. We worked at a studio called “In Your Ear” with an engineer named Paul Bruski who has a great ear for music and appropriate sound effects. We were under the care and guidance of the third of our little group, Ruth Twiggs, who was the videographer on the original projects for the Museum. We became fast friends, and they have been my greatest boosters and guiders in my photographic art journey. It’s a small world, after all.

Many thanks to Daphne for taking the time to answer my questions. Be sure to check out her website at

Graffiti by Daphne Maxwell Reid
"Graffiti" by Daphne Maxwell Reid

Visit the Pop Life Art celebrity artists list for links to the artwork of more than 100 actors, singers, and musicians.

(All photos copyright Daphne Maxwell Reid)