Two WHS grads who are making life a little more beautiful
Textile designer Taylor Telyan in her Manhattan home office.
Creativity is alive and well, thanks to two very special Wilton High School graduates who have been following their passions in the world of art.
Taylor Telyan is obsessed with design. From a young age, she had an eye for unusual patterns and colors, thanks to her mother’s “outlandish fashion and beautiful silk scarf collection.” Add to this the trips to the tile store with her architect father, and you begin to understand how her fascination with design was ignited.
During her senior year at Wilton High School (class of 2007), Taylor was encouraged by Algirdas Nakas, her mentor for the school fashion show, to explore all her interests in art. This support eventually helped her shift focus from fashion to textiles. Post high school, at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, she signed up for a screenprinting and design class, and has pursued this passion ever since.
After graduating from college, Taylor worked at a variety of studios as a screenprinter. In 2016, while living in New York City, she felt as if her career wasn’t advancing. So once again she moved on, and landed a job she now greatly enjoys at Madewell, a division of J. Crew. She feels lucky to have a position that allows her to create original prints and designs for each new season.
For Taylor, ideas are everywhere, even in her own back yard in Wilton where she goes to reconnect with family and nature. She instinctively zeroes in on shapes, colors and textures, and has even found inspiration in a heap of trash she spotted during a trip to India (yes, trash). Focus seems to be the key. When she gets stuck on an idea, Taylor says she just picks away at it. “For example, one summer I did a whole series of drawings on foods I didn’t like. I had issues with eggplant, onions, and pickles at the time.”
For kids who don’t feel as if they fit in at high school, Taylor offers this advice: “You’ll find your ‘people’ eventually. Just keep clear about your goal and direction.”
Andy Romer’s early interest in art also began at home, with parents who were very “art- and food-centric.” His dad was the one who suggested during Andy’s WHS freshman year (class of 2008) that he take Nakas’s photography class. It stuck. For Andy that last phrase is accurate, because the business he started is about digitally documenting art and exhibits at museums and galleries. Documenting art not only creates a history of each artist’s and institution’s collections, but also allows them to share their work with the public more broadly through online outlets. Andy explains, “It allows people to interact with works of art 24/7 if they can’t actually go to an exhibit.” He acknowledges that this is a real niche area, one about which he is passionate.
His interest in taking pictures of pictures began during high school when he signed up for a 6-week summer photography and design class at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). This sent him full tilt toward becoming a professional photographer. “Whether there was a career at the end of it or not, I wanted to do it.” While in college at RISD he secured an internship with Tom Powel Imaging, and to this day the two have remained friends. Now located in New York City, Andy takes on challenging projects such as documenting art collections for the National Trust for Historic Preservation, which, he says, is a joy. “Those are the days when I have to pinch myself.
Andy admits that his questing spirit was influenced by his parents who were entrepreneurs in the food business. He was drawn to light and beauty rather than food. He speaks fondly of Wilton, and “a beautiful vista with two old trees on the corner of Pipers Hill Road and Nod Hill Road. I find myself photographing that almost every time I drive by.” He’s been doing that for the last ten years.
So it appears that the secret to a successful art career includes supportive parents, teachers who nudge those who dare to follow their dreams, and an inspirational backdrop like Wilton where nature sparks creativity.