Taylor Bowen ’18
Art + Design and Digital Media Production double major
Communications Specialist for Walt Disney World Public Affairs and
Story and Brand Development for Nancy Drew Games
How did Butler prepare you for your career?
Butler was pivotal in merging my creative and strategic skills. I have had many different roles at Walt Disney World and the one constant that has allowed me to work in such diverse fields is my creative problem solving. Butler instilled in me that understanding your “why” helps uncover what makes you unique, and this can open doors to virtually any field. It’s not just about a job title or degree; it’s about your experience, passion, and the mindset to adapt creatively to any challenge thrown your way.
What skills or knowledge gained at Butler have been most useful in your career?
The Art of Storytelling and my many art history classes have played a bigger role in my career than I would have ever imagined. The concepts and stories I learned in those classes have influenced stories I pitched, messaging I wrote, or even artwork I have done for Walt Disney World over the years. Some of the European art I studied even plays a role in the newest Nancy Drew Computer Game, Nancy Drew: Mystery of the Seven Keys.
Reverse engineering is also another skill I use frequently. For me, this skill developed when a website coding project didn’t go as planned and I was advised by my professor (Carrie Rector) to work backward to solve the problem. The idea of reverse engineering something is not exclusive to websites. I use this thought process daily when thinking about what I want a graphic design piece to convey or what I want to accomplish with my writing. Start by thinking where you want to end up and back track to determine how to get there. That is my biggest piece of advice to anyone who doesn’t know how to start tackling a problem.
What is the most important thing you learned at Butler?
Don’t be afraid to speak up. My junior year, I was the first Creative Director of Butler’s Bright Blue student-run agency. In my peer reviews, I was told repeatedly that I was not speaking up right away and instead listening to others try to find solutions. Then, when I would finally say something, it solved the problem. I wasn’t speaking up because I didn’t have ideas, but rather because I assumed my peers who were in the business program would have better ideas than I would because I was just an “Art student.” Once I trusted myself and my creative lens, I was coming up with solutions others in the room weren’t thinking of, and my Art degree became my superpower.
Who influenced you the most while you were a student?
Steve Nyktas in the Jordan College of the Arts was my very favorite professor. He encouraged me on every new project and whatever art fixation I had. I’m still shocked he wasn’t upset, but rather amused, in my Pop Art and Propaganda class when we took a graffiti assignment a little too far! I would love to know if the little bear I drew is still on the side of the vending machine in the annex (LOL). I think back fondly of the Art Annex because of the environment he fostered amongst the other faculty members and my fellow students.
What advice do you have for students who are interested in pursuing a career in this field?
I’d say 50 percent of the opportunities I have gotten have sparked from coffee chats. If you are interested in learning about a career or job someone has, invite them for a coffee. You never know where it might lead.