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Meet the Artist


EJ Lee

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I was born in Gaithersburg then raised in Frederick Maryland. I then received my BA  of Studio Art at McDaniel College, in Westminster, MD, in 2015. I am currently attending Maine College of art to receive my MFA. 

                All of my life has been an uphill battle and still is to this day. Although I was born and raised in Maryland, I do not consider myself a native. Since I was born with dyslexia I have spent most of my life-changing schools every two to three years trying to find that one school that would help me. The constant moving from one school to the next took an emotional toll on me. The emotional baggage that I have collected throughout my life still haunts me to this day, but that does not mean it will hold me back.

             I did not have a formal or traditional elementary education because none of my teachers were equipped to help me. I was also not accepted by my fellow peers because I am dyslexic, and because of that, I was bullied. I had no idea how to explain my dyslexia to others since I did not understand it myself. While all of this was happening to me, I used art as a way to channel my frustration because I did not know how to do it vocally. By the time I was twelve, and exhausting all possible resources in Maryland, my family and I started looking at out of state schools. Eventually, my Mom found a school in Virginia, called Oakland, which specialized in teaching students with learning disabilities. Oakland was my saving grace because it was the first time, in my life; I was with fellow students who also had a learning disability as I do. At the age of twelve, I was experiencing for the first time acceptance, and my dyslexia was never an issue to my fellow students because every student there had a form of a learning disability.

               For High School, I attended The Forman School, in Litchfield CT, which is a preparatory school that specializes in teaching high students with learning disabilities. Here I was able to excel and become the student that I knew I was meant to be, by graduating top of my class. Before that this is when I realized that the art room was my home away from home. No matter where I was, I felt most at home in the art room and even met my best friend there. This is when I knew that I was meant to keep art in my life and dreamed of teaching in an art room similar to the one that I had in high school. 

               I attended McDaniel college, and I  majored in Art and minoring in Art History. I have been doing exceedingly well at McDaniel because I am able to identify what I need to be able to succeed. Also for the first time in my life, I allow myself to think ahead and plan out what I want to do with my life. Living the life that I was given has inspired me to be an art teacher and work with students who have a learning disability. I believe that I will be able to relate better to the students who are going through the same challenge that I had to go through.

                   My dyslexia, as odd as it sounds, shaped me into the person who I am today. It has taught me to be a self-advocate and through that, I am confident, motivated, and self-determined. My dyslexia has also taught me to be patient when I struggle over a task. Through these life experiences, I have gained much more as a person and an individual in a shorter amount of time than what most people try to gain in their lifetime.

                Although the series of events that happened in my life has given me a sense of fulfillment, without a sense of belonging. I have come to realize that the only place where I have felt at home was in the art room. While I am in the art room I have endless creative possibilities, both literally and figuratively, at my fingertips. To me, this is where I belong in the world and where I will be able to make a difference. I will have the ability to relate to some students on a different level than most teachers can because I will be seen as a role model proving that anyone with a learning disability can be successful in life. 

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