Art Studio of student Kaylee Reynolds.

Art Studio of student Kaylee Reynolds.

“I’m terrified of majoring in art.”

These were the words I overheard from a prospective student while serving as an orientation leader at NYU’s Weekend on the Square in 2017. Though I didn’t hear the entire conversation, I can probably tell you how it panned out.

In our society, the pursuit of any field that is believed to be unprofitable tends to be discouraged. Sometimes it is discouraged by our parents, and often times even by ourselves. Admittedly, I have fallen victim to the desire to lean towards that which is profitable. As a result, until my decision to pursue my art at the tertiary level, I had never before experienced such self-doubt. During the earlier part of my freshman year, the doubt festered increasingly and was eating me alive. It finally manifesting itself in the thought of changing my major. I feared for many reasons that my pursuit of art would lead me down an unsuccessful career path. I almost drove myself to making what probably would’ve been the biggest mistake of my life.

Choosing what I wanted to pursue in college wasn’t something I was always certain of. In fact, four years ago when I applied, I was convinced that I would be double majoring in Econ and Studio Art. If you met me today, you would certainly be confused by that. By my second semester in college, I quickly learned, without taking even a single class in Economics, that I did not want to go down that path. I suppose double majoring was a way for me to pursue what I was passionate about, that is art, in addition to something that would likely allow me to make money. Thankfully, I knew myself and I knew I would not be able to sit through several classes of micro and macro economics, calculus, etc without being unhappy.


So I went all in on my passion, and decided to give Studio Art my undivided attention. Today, I can honestly say that I do not regret that decision.

NYU’s BFA Open Studios is the one time in the year when the art studios for Seniors in the Studio Art program are open to viewing by the public. At this year’s Open Studios, I found myself really enthusiastic and excited to discuss my work and my process with a handful of people. It felt like a sneak peek of what to expect in my art career. By the time it was over, I found myself wishing it could have lasted even longer. It was one of many memories that affirmed my decision to pursue art.

Student Kaylee Reynolds at NYU's BFA Open Studios, 2019.
Student Kaylee Reynolds at NYU's BFA Open Studios, 2019.

To anyone doubtful about pursuing art,

Nothing will be more fulfilling than waking up every day knowing you get to do what you enjoy. If art is your passion, do not doubt yourself.

The mere fact that you are passionate about it, will be motivation enough to push you towards success. Moreover, I am a strong advocate for the idea that money should not drive your pursuits. Instead, your passions should. You never want to end up in a position of regret because of your decision to neglect your passion.

Be willing to take the leap to pursue art.

There is a saying that if you pursue something you enjoy, you’ll never work a day in your life. I actually quite like the sound of that. Looking back, to that terrified prospective freshman, I would’ve said, take a leap of faith, because art can open up a world of possibilities that would otherwise remain undiscovered.

Kaylee Reynolds is a current international student from Jamaica, and is a member of the class of 2020. She is pursuing a Bachelors of Fine Arts degree in Studio Art from the Steinhardt School. In the past few years at NYU, she has focused on building artistic skills in painting, design, illustration and photography. Within the art realm, her projects often engage with sociocultural issues, lifestyle and popular culture.

Since being a student at NYU, Kaylee has been involved in a number of art exhibitions, including two self-curated shows in collaboration with other student artists. Her work has been featured in the NYU Q, a quarterly magazine for prospective NYU students, as well as other student run publications, such as the NYU Brownstone and West 10th.

Kaylee is also involved in dance at NYU, and has performed in the annual Steinhardt Masters Dance Concert, and has visited NYU Tel Aviv through a dance class in the Dean’s Honors Program. In addition to being an Admissions Ambassador, she is also a Resident Assistant at one of NYU’s upper class residence halls, and a member of NYU’s Caribbean Students Association.