7/11/2013 10:59:00 AM Life after Graduation: Reid Strelow
by Connie Bickman
Note: This column features "hometown folks," specifically Cannon Falls and Randolph High School graduates - of any year - and their unique or interesting careers. If you know of anyone you feel would make an interesting feature, email email@example.com - their email address must be included.
When asked about reaching goals he set for himself after graduation, Reid Strelow, Cannon Falls High School class of 2004, replied, "My goals, for the most part, have always been pretty basic and shortsighted. In some ways it makes it easier to achieve those goals, but also allows for setting more of them."
An artist, now residing in Brooklyn, New York, with his wife, Alex, and twin boys, Reid candidly admitted, "I didn't really set out to be an artist. It came mostly from working a lot of crappy jobs for other people and at the end of each of those jobs thinking, 'I hope I don't have to do that again!'"
After high school, Reid graduated from Bethel University, St. Paul, with a BA in Art, and from Hunter College, New York City, with a MFA in sculpture.
The son of Bradd and Brenda Strelow, Cannon Falls, Reid currently works for BDDW (www.bddw.com), an American furniture design company based in New York that applies heirloom-inspired designs to naturally treated domestic hardwoods. But Reid fulfills his personal creative passion working as an artist, creating his own sculptures and drawings.
"What makes working as an artist and in the design field most exciting for me is being a part of the creative process. To be physically making things - things people use, look at, enjoy. There are always projects, problem solving, and at the end, something to show for it (sometimes...)."
Reid noted that probably the strongest influence to what he's doing today is his grandfather. Lawrence Seiffert, from Cambridge, Minnesota. "He was a new Baptist minister, deeply committed to his calling, and is also a talented woodworker. He and I share a lot of similar goals and values. If I can someday be half the man he is, I'd be doing all right."
Reid has siblings back in Minnesota - Kalie (Turgeon) lives in Cambridge, and is an elementary school teacher; Jordan lives in Farmington and is CPA doing internal audits for United Health Group; Erlyn and Erwin are both at Cannon Falls Middle School.
He says that some of his fondest memories of growing up in Cannon Falls with his family are experiences available to kids in rural Midwest towns. "Squirrel hunting after school, shooting hoops, trying to act in plays, changing the world through writing music, ice 'fishing' on Lake Byllesby, building hot rod riding lawn mowers... cheering my heart out watching Keith Meyers throw touchdowns to Rob Hedeen while in the fourth grade!"
He added, "While growing up in Cannon Falls, I was instilled with the value of being committed to what you believe, with some elbow grease and belly laughs to back it up."
During his freshman year in college, he met Alexandra Christopherson (Alex) from Mantorville, MN. "After settling our HVL Blue Division beef, she agreed to marry me (2007)," he said, adding, " On January 4, 2013, she delivered our twin boys, Gus Bear and Tell Riggin."
Family life has taken on a whole new meaning for Reid these days, with twins factored into his busy schedule. His long term goals include someday coaching Gus and Tell's basketball team, but in the immediate future, Reid is finishing art work for a couple of gallery shows in New York. His most recent solo show was at Signal Gallery in New York City. He also showed in group exhibits at Essel Museum in Vienna, Austria and Temp Art Space in New York City.
When asked if he would encourage others to follow a path to his career choice, Reid resounded with a "No! - Go to business school! It's easier and you'll make more money. But if you can't stifle the artistic passion, move to New York and jump in head first!"