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Moscow, ID 83844-2461

phone: (208) 885-4409
fax: (208) 885-9428
email: caa@uidaho.edu


Urban Design Center
322 E Front Street, Suite 120
Boise, ID 83702

phone: (208) 334-2999
email: arch@uidaho.edu
website: uidaho.edu/caa/facilities/udc

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Boise, ID 83702

phone: (208) 429-0220
email: kevinv@uidaho.edu
website: www.idlboise.com

Rayce Bird commencement

Sharing Lessons Learned: Bird shares his journey to inspire incoming students

By Amanda Cairo

Artwork by Rayce Bird for SyFy's faceOff To Rayce Bird, it all still feels so fresh. But for the group of incoming students he’ll be addressing at convocation Aug. 23 at 8:30 in the ASUI Kibbie Activity Center, Bird has a lot to share about university and life that follows.

“I really do feel like my journey has just begun, but I am honored to speak at convocation,” says Shelley, Idaho native Bird, ’11. “There’s so much I learned at the University of Idaho and in Hollywood.”

Bird’s degree in virtual technology and design didn’t take the typical path. He was working as a manager in Idaho Falls, Idaho, at a sign shop, where new hires with a college degree earned more than him. At the urging of his brother, he tried out for the University of Idaho football team and moved his family to Moscow for school.

He also didn’t graduate like most other students. After watching the SyFy Channel’s “Face Off” during his last semester, he sent in an audition video. Within 45 minutes, he got a call, asking him to fly down to Los Angeles during finals week. He finished his projects early and hopped a plane. While he had never worked with makeup before and was pitted against competitors who earned degrees in special effects, Bird went on to win the competition.

“I didn’t know if I could do it, but I figured I didn’t have anything to lose,” says Bird. “But one thing the University of Idaho helped me develop was a sense of achievement. My professors encouraged us to be creative, to get out of our comfort zone.”

Artwork by Rayce Bird for SyFy's faceOff

His education, character and tenacity served him well though. Even without “Face Off,” Bird had job offers, but he says taking a chance and getting that exposure was a tremendous help.

“It’s pretty cool that a lot of producers and directors in Hollywood know my name,” says Bird. “It really opened up a lot of doors.”

While Bird hasn’t worked on any big budget films yet, he’s had success on lower budget movies and networking around tinsel town. His success allows him to travel to perform inspirational talks and speeches, demonstrations at Comic-Cons and design consulting with Adobe. He’s also working on design work, including t-shirts and Halloween masks.

Artwork by Rayce Bird for SyFy's FaceOff Challenge

“I’ve been really busy selling art and doing what I can,” says Bird. “I’ve done a lot of interesting, fun things that I never would have dreamed of doing before ‘Face Off.’”

While Bird’s talent shines through on his multiple canvases, Bird is excited to share his story and how the university helped shaped him as a person and as an artist.

“At first I was really frustrated with open ended assignments and not being told what to do,” says Bird. “But as I started doing those assignments and stretching my creativity, I really loved it.”

The university also opened up new doors and ideas for Bird for a well-rounded education. He says the most important lesson he learned was about himself and who he could be. As he pours himself, his heart and his ideas into his creative works, it’s the solid foundation he found at UI that keeps this Vandal creating.

Photo Credits from top to bottom: Brett Patrick-Harris, SyFy FaceOff, Brett Patrick-Harris.