By ML Ball
Photos: Courtesy of Reid Sandlund (Recycled from November/December 2019, Edition 33)
Growing up with a mother who’s a graphic designer and a father who’s a writer, it seems only natural that Reid Sandlund would inherit a good amount of artistic talent. What he’s done with that talent, however, has been a journey all his own.
“I’ve been drawing pretty much my whole life, as soon as I could pick up a pencil,” Reid said recently. Starting with a digital illustration app in middle school, then moving up to a graphics tablet in eighth grade, Reid discovered a fascination with and a real aptitude for digital art (art rendered on a computer). As middle school morphed into high school, he kept at it, and his digital drawings got better, more nuanced, more expressive.
In the fall of his junior year, Reid started thinking of art college and a future career in the art field. Knowing he would need a proper portfolio for college applications, in the spring of 2018 he made his way to The Art Effect and met with the former director, Todd Poteet. After reviewing Reid’s work, Todd suggested he take the Advanced Portfolio Development class that spring semester.
“My illustrations improved very quickly once I started taking that class,” Reid said, “because I had to think a lot more about composition, body proportions, color theory…things I’d never been taught in my high school art classes. It was really great to finally be learning those sorts of lessons. It was a huge step up.”
Reid followed this class with a summer Advanced Painting Intensive, then another Advanced Portfolio Development class in the fall, all at The Art Effect.
Although the classes were demanding and required an enormous amount of work, Reid readily admits that what he gained from them was invaluable. “The Art Effect didn’t just give me technique but a new way of thinking through a piece, what I want it to achieve. I now think of art completely differently. A lot of the pieces I’ve created since then are so much more compositionally complex. Basically, The Art Effect made me into an artist.”
Another major takeaway for Reid was the way Todd treated students like adult artists, not like kids. “He respected us as artists,” said Reid. “He would say, ‘You guys can probably do things I can’t do. You are amazingly talented. You have important ideas you want to express. You are artists.’ That was really great to hear.”
Having graduated in the spring of 2019 from Haldane High School in Cold Spring, Reid is now attending the School of Visual Arts in New York, majoring in animation. He explained, “I’m really into theater and storytelling, and I also love film and drawing. Animation combines all of those. I got into other schools, too, but I want to be in New York City.”
Without a doubt, The Art Effect helped open the door to Reid’s future, but Reid himself is boldly walking through it.