Introduce yourself! Who are you?
My name is Taylor Chandler, I’m an illustrator who was born and raised in Wilmington, Delaware. I went to Delaware State University to receive my B.A. in Studio Arts. After graduating I moved to Northern NJ, setting my eyes on getting my career started in NYC. Last May, I graduated from Pratt Institute with a masters in Arts and Cultural Management. Currently, I’m actively working on projects and looking to launch my website in the near future.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
The best advice I ever received was ‘Don’t wait for opportunities to come to you.’ Understandably there can be barriers to entry but being motivated to reach your goal solely depending on yourself makes the reward even more worthwhile.
What would you say to 16 year old you?
What I would say to 16 year old me is that. ‘It’s ok to not be perfect.’ When I was younger, I had this idea that I had to be perfect to achieve success. Yes, my controlling nature helped me push through adversity, but at the same time, my need for perfection caused me anxiety when plans deviated. I want her to know that everything turned out fine. Even better than she expected. Twenty-seven-year-old Taylor has many more steps to climb but has more wisdom and experience on her side.
Have you ever had any self doubt? How did that make you feel?
Doubt, ah the thing or feeling that causes me the most stress. Self-doubt is normal I’m sure. I think there is always going to be someone better, stronger and more talented than you are in this world. However, you have to know within yourself that whatever your talent is, it’s yours and no one can take that from you. Worrying about what others are doing doesn’t help your own progression. I try to not give in to those thoughts. I try to be more positive about my current progress.
What message do you think every woman should hear?
I think every woman should have the opportunity to choose how they want to live their lives. Whether it be their career, sexuality and or reproduction rights. I believe our society is very oppressive when it comes to women. We shouldn’t have to make decisions based off of the status quo. We should make decisions based off of what feels right to the individual.
What is it like to be an artist?
Being an artist is all I’ve ever known. The arts were something I cherished growing up, and when I attended Concord High, I tapped into my potential. Having educators who fostered your growth and believed in your talents is the reason why I’m doing it today. That mentorship I received was crucial for my growth and my trajectory with furthering my education. After leaving Delaware State University and soaking up all the knowledge, I received on various mediums. I knew there was more for me to do. I started to search for graduate programs. I landed on Pratt Institute’s, Arts and Cultural Management program. I sought out this program because aside from being creative I wanted to gain more practical knowledge of the arts industry and its impact on communities. Over the last two years, I was working full time and going to school full time. That didn’t leave a lot of time to be creative. Now that my program has ended I’m diving back into the arts with my illustrations. It’s given me a new outlook on my talents, and I’m more open to take a risk and try mediums or styles I’d normally shy away from. I’m also extremely proud of my progress, my art a few years ago to now has changed tremendously. It makes me happy to know despite some self-doubt I may have had. I kept going, and I’m continuing to get better.
Do you remember a specific time you overcame adversity?
Yes, the summer of 2009 right after I graduated high school. I applied to an art school in Philly and I was accepted. I was set on attending that school, and I worked my hardest to get accepted. Long story short I found out that even with scholarships I could not afford that institution. It was a huge set back for me. I had to take an impromptu gap year. It most definitely wasn’t what I saw myself doing, but that was the situation I had to deal with at the moment. I realized, although I was not in school at the moment, I yearned for education, so I applied to DSU. Although it wasn’t my first choice, it ended up being my best choice. My four years at the school allowed me to learn about who I was as a person and it gave me the confidence to be something I never thought I could be…a leader. I became very active during my undergraduate years with student government association, campus activities board and becoming president of the Epsilon Alpha chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Those years brought me my nearest and dearest friends as well as molded me to the person I am today, and I’m forever grateful.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned along the way?
The biggest lesson I’ve learned is never to give up. Persistence is ultimately the way to lead you to where you want to go. Of course, there will be hiccups along the way but if you keep motivated and don’t quit. You will eventually come upon the path that was meant for you. I believe that life is little luck and hard work. You need both, you can’t be lazy when it comes to your dreams.
What motivates you most?
Progress has been one of the most motivating things I’ve experienced. Its tangible, you can see it, and you can acknowledge where you came from. Understanding where you’ve been and comparing it to the present day is one of the most heartwarming things. Keep going, it will all work itself out.
How do you manage your work-life balance?
Before my program ended, I had no work-life balance. I went to work 40 hours a week, and on the weekends I sat in class for 16 hours on the weekend. Now that my program is over I made it my duty to make time for things that are important and things that make me happy. Now my schedule consists of my 9-5 of course but my free time is creating my art, attending kickboxing classes several times a week and binging my favorite shows. Not to forget making times with friends and family although that can be very hard with operating around peoples busy schedules.
Do you have a mentor? If so, what did they teach you?
I actually was in search of a mentor for a very long time. I recently found one in a professor from my graduate program. His class was one of my hardest educational experiences. It not only taught me to think outside the box it made me learn a lot about myself. He taught me to tap into my fear and utilize those thoughts to become an effective leader and useful art professional. His teachings made a massive impact on how I saw the world and how I interact with the arts.
What is the best thing about being an artist?
The best thing about being an artist is having a mind to think creatively. The arts are not just pretty pictures you create but the ability to use that creativity to solve problems. I learned that I love to think about scenarios in different ways. I’m always thinking about situations as a whole and finding ways to help myself and team to get through the process easier or make the solution much more appealing in the end.
Where do you find inspiration?
I find inspiration in my friends. Seeing all how my friends are tackling their own battles to achieve their career goals is inspiring. We all have different paths in life, and their progress and milestones mean as much to me as if If it was happening to me. When I go in the group chat and see good news, I find pure joy knowing my friend is achieving their hard earned goals. I try to be as positive and encouraging to my friends because I understand we are all navigating this thing called life and it’s not easy.
Taylor Chandler is an illustrator who was born and raised in Wilmington, Delaware. She went to Delaware State University to receive her B.A. in Studio Arts. After graduating she moved to Northern NJ, setting her eyes on getting my career started in NYC. Last May, Taylor graduated from Pratt Institute with a masters in Arts and Cultural Management. Currently, she is actively working on projects and looking to launch her website in the near future.