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Young artist needs support to attend prestigious school


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by Isabel Mosseler

Every now and then someone exhibits a talent, is presented with an opportunity, but they need some extra support on the way to their dream. Kyle Matlock II of Sturgeon Falls is an extraordinary young visual artist. At age 20, and solely on the basis of his portfolio of cartoon characters, Kyle has been accepted into one of Canada’s most prestigious private art schools, Vancouver Institute of Media Arts, known as VanArts.

However, the tuition cost is prohibitive: $25,700 for the one-year intensive program. It’s worth the investment, as the school boasts a teaching staff drawn from industry leaders, and a stellar placement rate for graduates. VanArts also draws applicants from around the world, so that it’s reach is international.

Kyle applied too late in the season to qualify for bursaries, so his mom, Tanja Natasha Reid, who operates a local martial arts studio in Sturgeon Falls, has set up a social media page in hopes of garnering community support for her son. The recent acceptance to VanArts was a bit of a surprise to the whole family, and while everyone is chipping in to help, and Kyle is holding down two jobs in Sturgeon Falls, time is short. This is an opportunity Kyle feels he can’t miss.

Tanja Reid home schooled all of her five children, and they are all high achievers. She is a proud and protective mom. When Kyle applied to VanArts, there was no secondary school equivalency. He was accepted on the basis of his portfolio submissions, cartoon characters that are lively, engaging, and in the words of the judges, “drawings that exhibit excellent motion and character.”

“The school is a private animation and media arts school, number 2 in Canada and number 4 in the world,” Kyle explains. He put together a portfolio and an essay, describing his aspirations. “I told them I always liked animation as a kid, watching cartoons since [I was] little.”

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