For our “Because I’m a Lady” series, we chatted with Disney artist Ashley Taylor about all things Disney, fashion, and pursuing your dreams.
How long have you been an artist?
Oh my goodness! I feel like I have always seen myself as an artist! As a child, I would watch Sleeping Beauty and wish I could live inside of the artwork. I was always doodling on napkins and looking for any opportunity to draw. Art has always moved me and has always been a part of me.
How did you get started in your career?
My career had an unconventional start. While I was in college, I had a professor who told me I had “zero talent.” For years, I felt too embarrassed to show anyone my art. I felt like I wasn’t “good” enough.
It wasn’t until I found myself working at Walt Disney World that I rediscovered my love for art and my dream to be a Disney artist! I spent each night staying up until 3 a.m. watching tutorials, developing new techniques and finding my own style. I was slowly starting to feel confident in myself and my abilities. I was ready for my voice to be heard.
One day at work, I noticed a flier that said “Disney Creative Forum.” The Creative Forum allows Disney cast members to pitch their talents and ideas to a prestigious panel of Imagineers and Disney designers! My friend Bryce and I decided that we were going to pitch a design together.
When the presentation day arrived, we walked into the room confident and proud of our month’s work. We received wonderful feedback and it gave us the motivation to start posting our work online for the world to see.
One afternoon, Disney reached out to me and offered me a contract and Bryce was offered a job with Disney Imagineering! It’s amazing what can happen when you believe in yourself and seize the opportunities ahead of you!
I started my career thinking I wasn’t good enough, and now I’m working with various divisions of the Walt Disney Company! Currently, I’m creating artwork for the Disney Parks Blog, Disney Parks Merchandise, and the WonderGround Gallery.
My story is proof that if you’re willing to work hard, very few things can keep you from your dreams!
What’s it like designing for Her Universe?
Designing for Her Universe has been a dream come true! Her Universe allows fangirls from all walks of life to flaunt their fantastical world and showcase their fandoms through fashion. It gives a voice to the female fan community and allows fangirls to not only feel accepted, but to be the best versions of themselves.
Plus, Ashley Eckstein is just as wonderful as she appears! I’m not only lucky to be working with her, but this generation of young women are lucky to have such a strong, ambitious, kind-hearted, role model to look up to!
How did you become a WonderGround Gallery artist?
When I first started at Her Universe, Ashley Eckstein had asked me about my hopes and dreams. I told her that I wished I could be showcased at the WonderGround Gallery! Seeing my art on a wall with my idols at WonderGround felt like an impossible dream—but Ashley helped me turn that dream into a reality.
In 2016, I had created a Star Wars timeline skirt with Her Universe for the Disney Parks. Ashley asked the WonderGround Gallery if they’d be interested in turning my Star Wars artwork into a print for their gallery and they said yes! So they set up a launch event for my print and our matching Her Universe apparel.
From that moment on, we’ve launched several events with the WonderGround Gallery and I’m so grateful to work with such an amazing team there!
Do you have a favorite piece you’ve created?
My favorite piece is always the newest piece I’m working on! There are three Disney Princess pieces debuting in the Disney Parks this December that are currently the most meaningful to me, and I hope everyone enjoys them as much as I do.
How does it feel to know fans have your artwork around the world?
All I’ve ever wanted to do was to bring color and joy to people’s lives; whether it’s adding art to their homes or providing clothes that make them feel their best. I love seeing where my products end up. And I hope people enjoy my art just as much as I enjoy creating it!
What advice would you give aspiring young artists?
There are quite a few pieces of advice I’d give young artists, so here it goes:
Opportunities are out there but they are in no way waiting for you! Put yourself out there, take risks, and do your research. Sometimes, you have to build your own yellow brick road.
Be mindful of what you post on social media; the internet is the new resume. Put your best foot forward and lead with kindness.
Don’t be afraid to fail. Failure is part of the process. Keep moving forward!
I’ve found that when I draw what I love, people respond to it. Pay attention to where your mind goes when it wanders and start from there.
The way you handle rejection may determine how successful you become. Rejection can either motivate you or destroy you—the choice is up to you!
Don’t shy away from your dreams just because you haven’t seen anyone else accomplish them. Don’t be afraid to be the first.
Think of where you want to be a year from now and find something small you can do each day to work towards that goal! If you can’t find 20 minutes a day to work towards your dream, you don’t want it bad enough. Make it happen and discover what you’re capable of!
And lastly, the only artist you should be competing with is yourself. Be better than you were yesterday! And when you meet another artist, offer kindness and encouragement. There’s room for all of us to “win” in this game. Everyone deserves to feel like they can take on the world.