Designing a Creative Life: Media Arts & Animation Student Exemplifies Passion & Commitment

May 2, 2018

Ted Sandiford is the kind of person who believes in going for his goals. “If you have a passion, you have to go out and get it,” he says. “It doesn’t make any sense doing something that you don’t want to do. All that causes is stress.” 

A student at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh - Online Division, Ted is currently working toward finishing his Bachelor of Science in Media Arts & Animation program, a degree he’s financed entirely though cash payments. 

He’s funding the education in part from his salary as a visual arts teacher on the island of St. Lucia in the Caribbean. He also uses income from ACID Kreationz, a media arts company Ted founded in 2008 and through which he provides services like 2D and 3D animation, graphic design, caricatures, digital portraits, photo editing, and more to businesses and individuals. 


Ted Sandiford Artwork

It’s a lot to juggle and Ted has had to take breaks from school to raise more money, but despite it all, he continues to push himself. “I look at the big picture that you have to work hard to get your rewards. I look at my kids and it reminds me of what I’m working for so I just keep on going,” says Ted, a father of six. 

Last year, after having to step away from school for financial reasons, Ted reached out to an unlikely place for help with funding his remaining education—the internet. Through an IndieGoGo campaign, Ted raised over $20,000 for his degree from 271 backers, promoting the campaign on Facebook and with help from his friends overseas. He provided many of his backers with digital caricatures that ranged, based on their donation amount, from line work to fully detailed caricatures with props and backgrounds.

“There are people from all over the world who supported me,” he explains. “It was amazing.”

Now back in school, Ted is excelling in his courses and recently made the President’s List at the end of 2017. His instructors, he says, are not only knowledgeable but also challenge him to do his best work. “Character modeling was my favorite, because the professor pushed us to the limits,” Ted recalls. “He wouldn’t accept any mediocre work. If we did something wrong, he would tell us outright. It could seem harsh but he always meant well.”

Recently, Ted’s been involved in several group projects, including creating the animated video, There Was a Crooked Man.

“Group work has been an eye opener for me. Since I run a business on a small island, I have to do everything on my own for my business,” he explains. “My courses provided my first experiences in doing this as a team, and I learned that the production comes out way better and is of higher quality because everybody takes part in it, doing things that they specialize in.”

After graduating, Ted hopes to eventually go full-time into his animation business, possibly working with some of his peers from The Art Institutes. Already, he stays in touch with members of his Production class, and they share advice and feedback on each other’s work via Skype. Several have agreed to contract for him if he needs a hand on a project.

As he nears the completion of his program, his advice for others is simple. “Nothing good comes easy,” he says. “You need to keep on pushing and when you get that reward, you will feel on top of the world.”

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