North Texas Daily

Alumna transforms imaginary worlds into physical art forms

Alumna transforms imaginary worlds into physical art forms

Alumna transforms imaginary worlds into physical art forms
May 06
17:37 2022

As a child, alumna Kenna Reid felt something was wrong with her. She did not fit in with others and often internalized her own insecurities. To evade these anxieties, she began to bring herself into her own imaginative worlds.

Since then, these fictional lands have been frequent forms of escape and expression for Reid.

“Being able to actually create those worlds that I always envisioned is just very fulfilling,” Reid said. “I feel like I’m putting my own self and my imagination into some sort of physical form.”

Years later, as an artist under her brand Sun Beam Dreams, she is honored to transfer these realms from self to sketch. The brand’s name was inspired by Reid’s solar urticaria, an allergic reaction to sun exposure that causes hives and rashes. Reid said while the condition limits how much she can enjoy what she loves, she continues to dream about new futures and possibilities in the face of such obstacles.

“By creating Sun Beam Dreams, I’m taking ownership of those two parts of me and combining them to show how this was all meant to be,” Reid said

From a young age, Reid saw herself as an artist and wished to pursue it as a career. As she got older, she felt art was not a secure financial pathway and decided to major in psychology at the university. It was not until she met her boyfriend, musician Blake Hyman, in her junior year of college that she considered returning to her artistic roots.

Reid said as Hyman was a creative himself, he was able to best encourage her to explore her artistic passions. With his support, Reid soon regained confidence in her work and began to create for the first time since high school.

“I hadn’t touched art in years, but his influence and creative passions helped lead me to rekindle that love that I always felt for art,” Reid said. “That’s why I’m where I am today.”

Hyman said he noticed Reid’s creative spirit upon first meeting her and was amazed to see her grow as an artist since first joining local markets in 2018. By helping her realize her dreams, he believes he was able to get Reid to the artistic levels she was always meant to reach.

“It was more like I was a lens and all that radiance, that energy was passing through me into her,” Hyman said. “[Reid] just radiates her art.”

Now, Reid sells her fantasy-inspired designs on products ranging from canvas prints to phone cases through Sun Beam Dreams.

Reid describes her escapist pieces as “soul-boosting,” and believes the imaginary worlds depicted act as extensions of her own spiritual thoughts and feelings.

“It’s a journey of exploration, of wandering around and inserting all these things that make me feel happy and inspired,” Reid said. “To me, they’re all celebrations of life and I feel like I’m arranging everything to tell that story.”

Reid’s mother, Romai Durant-Reid, 51, described the artist as a being of pure, true love. In creating her celestial stories, Durant-Reid said her daughter has been able to share that inner love with those around her.

“She knows what her truth and she’s showing it in what she’s allowing us to see,” Durant-Reid said. “Her heart, her hard work, her devotion to her craft — her love just expels from every pore of her body.”

Reid said many who have purchased her pieces have told her that her work has helped them through struggles with depression and anxiety. As someone with social anxiety herself, Reid said that connection with others is something special she has gained through her art. Aside from seeing her own inner being, others can also find their own selves in her work.

“It just feels like we’re sharing a moment of visibility,” Reid said. “We’re all resonating with each other and I can relate to them so much more deeply.”

As she has seen herself grow through her art, Reid said her development all goes back to the self-empowerment she learned when first creating. By seeing her rewarding journey, she hopes others realize that once they learn they can make whatever they want in this world, they can impact not just others around them, but themselves directly.

“That power carries on so we can create these ripples that may be small, but they’re very felt and very impactful,” Reid said. “When we see ourselves as capable, wonderful beings, we can live in a place of love and joy and wonder.”

Featured Image: Kenna Reid poses in front of her artwork on April 29, 2022. Photo by Carlie Rutledge

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Samantha Thornfelt

Samantha Thornfelt

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