Talent and Vision
The foundational experiences Reis gained from his youthful art-making, exposure to new ideas at a “big city” art school, and fortuitous apprenticeships with design masters, prepared him for a career in graphic design and art that has spanned more than 50 years.
Current: 2018 onward
Reis inspects his new Portland studio space under construction on the new second level in his Portland home Once the remodel of the vintage 1924 Sellwood neighborhood bungalow is complete, a new creative chapter will begin.
The decade beginning in 2008 represented the second half of the artist's time in Yorkville. Well-established on the property and in the community, Reis was inspired by the expansive views, warm friendships, and professional opportunities associated with the Mendocino wine industry. A major project during this period was the Inn at the Presidio in San Francisco's historic National Park.
Each year of this decade saw the creation of original commemorative posters for two Anderson Valley wine festivals. Reis also developed labels for local winegrowers and graphic design for San Francisco’s historic Inn at the Presidio.
Clients at the beginning of this decade included Nordstrom Cafe and the candle company, Illuminations. Reis accepted the position of Art Director at the Illuminations during the corporation's rapid expansion of retail locations, product development, and mail order catalogs. In 2001, he and his partner purchased a hilltop property in the Yorkville Highlands in rural Mendocino County. The decade brought major improvements to the property, including refurbishment of two guest cottages that became the Ravenridge vacation rental business. Landscaping and design of a barn/workshop, as well as a makeover of the main house, occupied Reis' creative energy during this period. Upon his departure from Illuminations, Reis moved his studio to Yorkville and established himself in the community with numerous projects in the local wine industry.
Marin to Mendocino
In 1968 Reis partnered with Art Institute friend Michael Manwaring
In high school, Reis’ talent was recognized in journalism classes where he became art director for the school newspaper and year book and chairman of prom decor. Summer jobs provided experience with sign painting for local shops and with window display and product merchandising at the local department store. Upon graduation from Antioch High in 1960, Reis was awarded a scholarship that enabled him to enroll at the California School of Fine Arts in San Francisco, later renamed the San Francisco Art Institute. There he interacted with legendary instructors, live models, the Beat scene, and fellow students, many of whom became lifelong friends and future professional connections. The embryonic profession of graphic design was blossoming in San Francisco, and Gerald was in its midst.
Formative Years: 1957-1942
Gerald’s creative life began early at the family home in Antioch, California. During the 1940s and 50s, Antioch was a semi-rural suburb of San Francisco. His family upbringing encouraged creativity. Gerald was always a maker, building with his dad, cooking with his mom, and singing with his cousin. At age 10, he gained local acclaim for his prize-winning entry in an Oakland Tribune art contest, and his elementary school safety poster, depicting two penguins and titled “In the Dark of Night Wear White,” won first prize. His parents agreed to enroll the gifted pre-teen in a correspondence art course from Art Instruction Inc., a company that advertised in After mailing in assignments Gerald received written critiques from the instructors with tissue overlays superimposed onto his drawings. This professional coaching inspired him and helped hone his technical skills.