Taylor Lee

    • 2015 Convocation Address

      June 1, 2015

      Faculty of Fine and Applied Arts

      Taylor LeeGrowing up, I wasn't exactly encouraged to follow my dream of becoming an artist. As children, we are taught to play, be creative, and that anything is possible; however, as we grow up, we are told the complete opposite. Like most, I was led to believe that the crucial subjects in school were the academics, and that if you didn't succeed in math or science, you wouldn't succeed in life. Because of this, because of the doubt I had of ever making a living doing what I love, I spent my first 2 years here studying biology and engineering. During this time I also took a painting class with Marcus Bowcott. I soon realized his class was the only thing I looked forward to during the week, because I got to do what I love. It was his class that made me realize I had to ignore the countless comments of people telling me a career in the arts is impossible, and start believing that as long as I'm doing something I'm passionate about, I'll succeed. This mindset is what led me to the illustration and design program called IDEA.

      I was accepted into the program without any digital skills, and very little design knowledge; however, throughout my 3 years in IDEA I learned more skills than I ever imagined possible, and I have the wonderfully passionate IDEA faculty, and my 29 incredible classmates to thank for that. For anyone who thinks that an arts education is easy, IDEA is proof that it's not. It takes dedication, passion and hard work to survive this intensive 3 year program, but the reward is worth the battle. My classmates and I are graduating today as work-ready professionals with the skills to build relational capital with clients, create innovative solutions to challenging problems, and most importantly, today we are graduating knowing that wherever life takes us, we'll be doing something we're passionate about.

      As fine and applied arts students, we know what it's like to be told we can't, that if we follow the path of becoming a creative of any kind, failure is inevitable. From years of being told "I can't" I realized that self-doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will. Failure is inevitable, no matter what field you're in, passion and determination is what's going to help you get up and try again. And I know I'm in a room full of passionate graduates.

      Congratulations class of 2015, here's to our passionate futures!