Reginald Gardner was born in Prestwich in 1948 to a working class family. At the age of 12 he won his first art competition in the Manchester Evening News. He has painted professionally since his first exhibition in the Colin Jellicoe Gallery in Manchester in 1969.
Between 1973 and 1980 he mounted several one-man shows in venues like Stockport Art Gallery, Rivington Great House, The Barbican and the National Theatre in London. His work reflects the urban landscape of the North West, capturing the homely yet industrial feelings of Manchester and Stockport.