Reilly is a sculptor and graduate of the Kansas City Art Institute. Reilly’s work has been described as “painting with fire,” as he is proficient in welding all types of as if it were clay. Reilly says “I mold it, carve it, shape it, and take it from its extruded identity to point where it is almost unrecognizable. These surfaces and forms that are produced through directed fire are only possible because of the nature of the material and the forces that shape it.” In addition to his own art practice, Reilly has been the artist in residence at A. Zahner Company
, an internationally recognized architectural metal company who has had experience working with a great number of successful artists and architects such as: Frank Gehry, Herzog and De Meuron, Sol le Witt, Walter De Maria and Donald Judd. Through winning Zahner’s competition for designing/building a piece to be sold at the Kansas City Art Institute charity auction Reilly became associated with them. After the completion of the project they offered him a position as their lead artist.
What makes KC a great environment for creativity and the arts?
There are so many artists here. And it’s diverse in terms of the types of artists. And there are so many businesses that are willing to work with artists. Places will call me and say “we have a surplus of materials, can you use them?” It’s been a very supportive community. The city has supported me through thick and thin. In a way we’re kind of both investing in each other.
When and where are you happiest?
I’m happiest at the end of the day…especially if I’ve gotten a lot done. There’s that feeling of satisfaction but anticipation for the next day. And you’re exhausted but it’s a good exhaustion.
What is your favorite spot in Kansas City?
Actually, I like the dog park the best. We have a little dog that likes to run a lot so we take her there and I really like it.
What's your most treasured possession?
I’m trying to live my life without being so attached to physical objects. I like my torch but I can always get another one. I actually had all of my tools stolen once in school—all my stuff, every tool I had ever had.
Who's your favorite fictional hero?
Howard Roark from Ayn Rand’s "The Fountainhead." It always makes architects mad when they say “who’s your favorite architect?” and I tell them it’s a fictional character.
Who do you most admire in real-life?
My dear friend and colleague Bill Zahner, president and CEO of Zahner Architectural Metals. We’ve been friends about eight years. He’s helped me with projects, with ideas, from a business standpoint. He gave me a studio to work in for a couple of years. I’ve been resident artist there for the last 4-1/2 years and that’s been a great opportunity to tie-in my art with a much broader spectrum of architecture and business.