Born in St. John’s in 1967, Reilly Fitzgerald was raised in Wabush, Labrador West, & then Spaniard’s Bay, NL. Reilly has a congenital defect known as an AV fistula malformation, which affects his use of his right hand & arm. Two things that have accompanied Reilly on his life journey are pain, & his art.
His childhood included eleven surgeries on his hand & arm by the time he turned fourteen. The right-hand dominant Fitzgerald became ambidextrous & left-dominant as he continued to develop his artistic skills. He eventually studied Art & Art History formally as a part of achieving his B.A. (1998) & B.Ed. (1999) at Memorial University, & received a diploma with highest honours in Art from International Correspondence Schools (1986) while still attending high school. He later taught private art lessons & volunteered in local schools throughout Conception Bay, NL, worked as a plasterer & painter, & taught high school, ultimately leading him to his current home in Clarenville.
Reilly has achieved formal recognition for his art, winning awards & having his work published in a variety of projects. Reilly illustrated the children's book, Lucy Grey (2003) by Bruce Stagg, as well as the cover of Bruce's book, Lend Me Your Ears, (2005) provided the art for a series of educational posters "Soldiering in Newfoundland & Labrador" (2001) & "Native Life in Newfoundland & Labrador" (2002) for Historic Sites Association of Newfoundland & Labrador, & developed the logo for the Herder & Allan Cup-winning Clarenville Caribous (2006), among many other achievements & honours His art, including larger three-dimensional installations, is displayed in prominent locations such as The Janeway Children’s Hospital, St. John’s, James Paton Memorial Hospital, Gander, & the Eastlink Events Centre, Clarenville .
Reilly continues to live with various sources of chronic pain, & creates his art from his home in Clarenville, where he lives with his high-school sweetheart & wife, Julie & family.
Influenced by Canadian artists such as Lawren Harris, David Blackwood, & Ted Harrison, Reilly developed his often colourful, bold, expressionistic style while painting the picturesque scenery of his home province of Newfoundland & Labrador.