Reid’s work places 2nd in state art contest

By HASKEL BURNS,

At a very young age, Dakota Reid knew that he had a fascination with art, in particular portraiture.

“I think it was just looking at other peoples’ art on Instagram,” said Reid, who will start his freshman year at Petal High School in August. “Just scrolling through social media for other artists and seeing how talented they were and how realistic they could make things look, and how beautiful pictures could come out with just a few colors being put down on paper.

“I wanted to do that myself, so I started trying for it.”

The 14-year-old’s efforts have certainly paid off so far, as Reid’s portrait of rapper Logic recently placed first overall at the regional Mississippi Federation of Women’s Club Youth Art Competition. Reid’s placing in that contest, which was held at the Coleman Center for Families and Children, earned him a spot in May at the statewide competition in Gulfport, where his drawing came in second place.

“That drawing got me pretty far,” Reid said. “It feels pretty good. That was my first competition that I’ve ever been a part of.”

Reid spent about 15 hours on the black-and-white drawing, which is a mixture of pencil and pen on paper. He chose Logic – who gained renown with his mixtapes and studio albums “Under Pressure,” “The Incredible True Story” and “Everybody” – as the subject for his drawing for a project from his 8th-grade art teacher, Shanna Britt.

“It was after I’d become sick at school, and I had taken off to work on it,” Reid said. “My art teacher thought it’d be a good representative for the district competition.

“(Logic) is my favorite singer, so I thought it’d be a good choice for me to do, since we were drawing a celebrity.”

Britt said she’s extremely proud of Reid’s showing in the competitions, as it’s a big accomplishment for such a young artist.

“Dakota has so much passion and talent literally at his fingertips,” she said. “He impresses me on a weekly basis – I say ‘weekly’ because he works slowly but tediously on his masterpiece while in the classroom and at home.

“Dakota is very meticulous with his drawings, and reminds me of how an Italian Renaissance master would have been. Dakota finds the importance of detail and perfection, yet thinks outside the box and makes each piece his own.”

As for the future, Reid plans to continue to put his artistic talents to good use.

“I would love to keep going with my art,” he said. “I’ve always loved it, and I would love to have a career out of it, if I could make it that far.

“(Britt) told me I should look into an art school that’s in Mississippi that I could start in my second year of high school, when I become eligible. That could become a good startup for my career.”

Britt has no doubt Reid will be a success in his chosen field.

“My art lessons offer each student an opportunity to create simply for themselves, but as an artist and teacher, I guide that creativity with big questions and challenges to spread that creativity to the world,” she said. “Many of my students shine through their artwork, and it brings them more joy than any other thing in their life.

“As I find these students who have that kind of passion for love and art, I label them as my ‘unicorns.’ Dakota, one of my unicorns, has the imagination and the sheer talent to create exactly what he thinks on paper. Not everybody has that magic. If he uses that tool of transformation, whether as a graphic designer, animator, engineer, architect or even an art teacher, he will be successful.”

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