Taylor Mroz Coleman is a 20-year-old current student at SUNY New Paltz majoring in Art Education. Growing up in Poughkeepsie, New York, Taylor was always encouraged to develop her creativity and try new creative ventures. After attending art camp and attending a high school with a strong arts program, she knew that attending art school was in her future. In a recent email interview, we had a chance to ask Taylor about her work and her experiences as an art student. See the interview below!
FYAS:What motivated you to choose to major in Art Education at SUNY New Paltz?
Taylor Mroz Coleman: I love working with kids and seeing how art inspires them. Teaching will also give me the time to travel, get inspired, and continue to create my own art. During my sophomore year of high school, I took Drawing and Painting. It was this class that inspired me to become an art teacher. I had the opportunity to experiment with all different kinds of mediums, and I was surprised at how quickly I grasped each concept. It wasn’t until then that I really decided to start putting my art out there to hopefully get recognized.
Describe your experience studying art at New Paltz. As an emerging artist, what do you think is the most valuable aspect of pursuing a higher education in the arts?
TMC: For me, going to New Paltz has been the absolute best experience. New Paltz has a strong art program and it’s here that I’ve met amazing people/artists with diverse interest in the arts. Being around other artists serves as an inspiration. We introduce each other to ideas, mediums and artists. I’ve really been able to explore many art mediums and encouraged to think outside the box. We have critiques that are both helpful for improving art and becoming a better art critic. I would absolutely recommend art school to any aspiring artist or art educator. It’s a great way to see other people’s ideas and learn different ways to express yourself through art. Also, the professors are all artists, so they’re a good resource! Usually there are art museums or art shows on campus for all levels –introductory through BFA – so it’s a great way to get your work seen and gain confidence. Attending an art school provides the opportunity to create art that is guaranteed to be seen and appreciated.
What do you love about being an art student?
TMC: I love being able to create my own artwork. The assignments we are given in college are extremely open to interpretation and most professors encourage students to experiment. The struggle happens if I don’t feel like a project is interesting. Sometimes it’s tough for me to get inspired if I’m not feeling it, but it’s always good to know what inspires you creatively and what doesn’t. Taking art classes in college is also a good way to work on time management because you’ve got to juggle both academic classes and studio hours.
As for my ultimate goal as an artist, I think I’m still trying to figure that one out! I’d love to open up my own studio for kids and adults, but I’d also like to see where my art takes me. Right now, I’m just producing art in as many different mediums and styles as I can. I’m really trying to push my boundaries and explore all different mediums.
You describe yourself as a painter, but it’s clear that you have experience in mixed media and various forms. Do you feel that you are still developing your style?
TMC: By taking so many art classes, I’ve been able to branch out and experiment with many different types of art and techniques. I’m definitely still developing my style, but it’s still so early in my art career to limit myself to a style. I feel that it is so important to always explore and discover. Painting is something I’m experienced and comfortable with. I like combining mediums and seeing how they look together. The best thing someone ever told me was that “art and mistakes are interchangeable.” From that point on, I let my art happen, and as it turns out, the art that gets the most recognition is the art I thought the least about.
Describe your artistic process. What do you do to get inspired, motivated, and get in the studio?
TMC: Rather than sketching out the composition, I found that I worked better when painting right on the canvas. I’m really interested in urban themes and graffiti. Bright, bold colors and drips always catch my eye. I never plan out my work. I usually have a general idea in my mind and once I get started I just let myself go. As far as getting into the studio, my studio is my floor, whether it be at home, in my dorm room or my apartment. As crazy as it sounds, it works for me.
Luckily, I’ve been fortunate to have my art appreciated. Starting in high school, my projects were often selected for display at school and district levels. From being voted “most artistic” by classmates to earning art award from the school’s art department, I had early validation that it was something worth pursuing.
In college, my projects have also been selected for the annual Foundation exhibits. Last spring, one of my paintings (“Surveillance,” shown above) was selected for display at the home of the New Paltz University president. Shortly after, I received an email asking if they could purchase the painting! Having my first sale be to the university president was very exciting!
What projects are you currently working on, and what can we expect to see from you in the near future?
TMC: Right now, I am experimenting with abstract art and metalworking. As I gain recognition and credibility, hopefully I’ll be making art all over the place. I love classic rock and music really influences me, so I’d love to design almost anything. My absolute dream is to design a guitar for Prince!
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