Through organic, entwining lines and floral elements that surround numerous, expressive eyes. Taylor's large scale oil paintings achieve visual poetry. The Philadelphia based painter feels most inspired when she is connected to the present. By immersing her mind in painting or the meditative experience of being in nature, she fuels her passion. The powerful, emotional pull of her work is a result of her intense investigation of the soul. The singular subject matter of eyes function as a conversation with self, life, growth and death while stripping away the constraints of gender and race. Her striking paintings reflect us all, they are both a fantasy and a brave confrontation with reality and self judgement.
Through the painted eyes that represent yourself and other woman, your work considers identity, why is this exploration important to you?
Identity is important to me because thats what makes you, you and me, me. I want toacknowledge our souls and the shifting of the expansion of self, because we have a shared essence beyond our physical sight. This quote by Anaïs Nin translates it perfectly for me, “We do not grow absolutely, chronologically. We grow sometimes in one dimension, and not in another; unevenly. We grow partially. We are relative. We are mature in one realm, childish in another. The past, present, and future mingle and pull us backward, forward, or fix us in the present. We are made up of layers, cells, constellations.” I want to express all of these ideas through paint, because in this life and in this form, painting is my souls chosen purpose.
When you begin a new piece, is the final result usually what you set out to create, or does your course change often during creation?
Since my approach is intuitive, when I begin a new piece I don’t ever really know what the painting will look like. Sometimes I have a certain feeling or idea of inspiration, but I only recently started sketching and mapping out certain areas, but its more an instinctual map. I take a lot of process shots of my work because I enjoy seeing the changes and adaptation that occurs.
With such a strong personal connection and self-reflection process attached to your work are you more susceptible to creative block? If so, how do you remedy this?
I don’t really think I am more susceptible to a creative block. I think by working on multiple pieces simultaneously I am able to overcome feelings of frustration or being “stuck.” However, its a double edge sword, sometimes I will look around in my studio and realize I’m working on 5 paintings at once and then feel overwhelmed. Its funny, I don't ever really like starting or ending a painting, I only really enjoy the in between because for me thats when everything comes together.
What do the nature elements, such as flowers growing from bodies, symbolize in your work?
Flowers have so much symbolism and mostly to do with growth, but for me its not only about growth but its about death. The shedding of parts of oneself and constantly giving birth to yourself. To me birth and death are seamless and I use flowers and parts or nature to communicate that. I want to talk about the part of ourselves that goes beyond life and death. The soul will always do what it needs to do and it was only when I started really painting my soul that the world I wanted to live in opened up to me.
In regards to fine-tuning your craft, how do you practice and grow your skills as an artist? Do you enjoy experimenting with any other mediums?
I think I fine tune my craft by practicing my craft everyday. I grow my skills the more I deepen my connection to my work. I do enjoy experimenting with other mediums. I have had this 8 year sculpture project of collecting wasp and hornets nests and I have made some polyurethane rubber molds of some and made wax molds. I also have played around with the “lost wax” process and made some bronze and aluminum nests.
A hike in the Andes Mountains of Peru spurred an inner transformation foryou, why do you think your mind and work were so affected and inspired by travel?
I believe that my mind and work were greatly impacted by my trip to Peru because I was pushed to such limits, not just physically, but mentally and spiritually. The fluidity and unevenness of personal growth and change was so evident and rather, I was met face first with myself for the first time. I was forced to be present in every sense and it felt as if time was dissolved and distance became a state of mind and I no longer felt alienated, despite being so small physically in the middle of something so huge. I met with a Shaman unexpectedly and had a cleaning at an ancient moon temple. I did not fully process my experience with him until returning to the states, but I felt a difference in my being and felt connected to my higher self in a way I had never felt before. I decided I wanted to channel this energy and thought into my work: I want to create paintings that dissolve time, distance, difference, alienation and have the capacity to mend, join, comfort, and reconcile. I believe heavily in energy and believe we are all energy inside of these fleshy bodies. That being said I know we are all connected and I wanted to first hand touch on the transformations that we all go through on a daily basis and speak of the things going on below the surface.
A beautiful aspect of your work is how well viewers can personally relate and identify to the inner-turmoil and self-reflection presented. Do you consider the viewer as you create? how does that affect your work?
I honestly am feeling my way through the inner turmoil and self-reflection when I paint. I try to remain fluid, painting really helps me with the art of letting go. Painting offers me a place to be vulnerable, and as long as it keeps doing so, I must trust that the universe is confronting me with that. Learning human is hard, to not constantly endure the labors of the mind that incessantly contradict what they have just established. I’m trying to look through the cracks of this world by painting; by oozing my insides out and by taking a risk and revealing what I value. In this way, I feel I am able to truly communicate with the viewer because I am first communicating with myself- if that makes sense. I paint to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect and I want to give that to people.
What excites you most about creating your art?
What excites me most about creating art the connection I feel to not only my higher self, but the universe. The purpose that I feel I am living out and the passion that I feel.