Photo courtesy of Lilliya Scarlett Reid. 

Meet Lilliya Scarlett Reid, An Actress and Artist Who Takes Her Cues From Egon Schiele

The 18-year-old actress and artist stars on 'Chambers', but she still makes time to paint.

by Emma Specter
May 1 2019, 6:57pm

Photo courtesy of Lilliya Scarlett Reid. 

You might be tempted to make certain assumptions about an actress's painting career—sunsets, flowers, et cetera—but eighteen-year-old Lilliya Scarlett Reid is here to upend your expectations. "I'm inspired by pictures of surgery," Reid recently told GARAGE, adding, "I've been painting since I was little but started taking it very seriously a few years ago, and a lot of it is gory and maudlin."

Reid, who stars on the Netflix series Chambers and is perhaps best-known for her appearance in Shawn Mendes's "Nervous" video, recently held a show of her paintings at Chain Gallery in Los Angeles. Her work doesn't shy away from the brutal, focusing almost entirely on body horror and gore.

Egon Schiele is an obvious antecedent of Reid's, and she names Schiele, Lucien Freud, William Blake, and British sculptor Antony Gormley as other inspirations. "There's actually a very symbiotic relationship between acting and painting," Reid notes, describing how she used to keep painting supplies in her trailer while filming in New Mexico.

Reid is based in Los Angeles, but she doesn't tend to embrace the city's party atmosphere; like any L.A. actress worth her salt, she loves Gjusta, and we mutually exclaim over the pea shoots at Pine and Crane in Silver Lake. Reid's commitment to the dual challenges of acting and painting calls to mind Jemima Kirke, another actress with a thriving career in visual art. Where RISD-educated Kirke paints brides, though, the self-taught Reid paints faces; faces in various states of decomposition and disarray, with a strange kind of beauty to their chaos.

Reid's art may dominate her life (and her Instagram), but fashion takes up a significant part of her time as well; the actress recently served as the face of Versace's SS18 Versus campaign, and she was previously included in Yeezy's Supermoon campaign. Reid is also in talks to design a capsule collection with Valentino, which begs the question; will next season's runways be awash in Reid's signature brand of gore? All we can do is pray.

lilliya scarlett reid
Egon Schiele
Los Angeles