This week we caught up with Stafford-based painter, Taylor White. Taylor's large mixed-media paintings are made up of lots of playful components, such as distorted figures and faces, organic shapes and panes of colour. Taylor's incredibly enigmatic 'me at work' section really caught our eye, check it out to see how Taylor uses his his whole body to apply materials to canvas by often working on the floor and his performance art videos (one of which features Taylor dancing in pink spandex leggings!)
Read on to discover more about what drove Taylor to become an artist, why he doesn't like to typecast his style and what inspires him.
Hi Taylor, what are you working on at the moment?
I’m working on a new series of paintings, videos, and a new performance art project right now.
What's the creative scene like in Stafford, Virginia?
There isn’t a creative scene in Stafford, but I really like that about living here. I feel like if there was a huge creative scene, I wouldn’t be bored enough to work constantly. I really thrive on being bored.
What inspires your work?
Humor has always been a central part of my interest in making art. I see a continuous state of anxiety floating beneath western culture, but instead of solely viewing it through a lens of pessimism, I have an instinctive urge to laugh at it, and mock it in the paintings and performances.
Your work could be described as a mash-up of two styles, abstract and the naive. Do you identify your work with either?
I’m influenced by all kinds of imagery, people I meet, and conversations that I have. I spend a lot of time studying the history of painting. I’d most readily describe my work as abstract or non-objective, but I often feel that those types of descriptions can be limiting to have in my head when I’m working. They’re paintings, and occasionally they reference the natural world, and sometimes they do not.
How would you describe a typical day in the studio?
I begin working early in the morning, as I usually wake up with a bunch of new ideas, and after some sleep I can see what I was working on the previous evening with fresh eyes. Generally, I don’t start a new painting with any clearly defined theme. Fragments of images, shapes, or the way in which specific colors work together will sort of flash in my mind for just a second. Throughout the process of painting, I strive to recall those initial structures without completely acknowledging them, and if they are completely realized in the work, I’m often inclined to contradict them. The real drive for me to make any type of art, is to create problems that I can’t resist solving.
What made you want to become an artist?
I’ve worn a few different hats in my life. I’ve experienced harrowing violence and witnessed atrocity in war. Making art really seemed to kind of wash a lot of that off of my spirit, and it brought me back to a place of curiosity, and a love for absurdity in all forms. Going to college for Studio Art at the University of Mary Washington really changed me. I’ve had some tremendous mentors that really pushed me and poked holes in my ego when I needed it most. Making art just completely consumes me, and in brief moments it seems to transport me back to childhood.
Your works are typically large, what is it about working on a large scale that you enjoy?
For me when I’m working on a relatively large scale and when I’m in close proximity to the work, I just get completely lost in it. I lose that finite awareness of how individual structures in a painting relate to one another. I try not to continuously walk back and forth to see the work at a distance. I’m interested in using scale to create problems in a painting that need to be resolved, or sometimes left unresolved.
How would you describe your experience on Artfinder so far?
Artfinder has been a great way for me to communicate to a large audience, and to rapidly bring awareness to my work. It a great site, and it's ran very professionally.
What made you want to sell your work online?
Selling work online is a great way to really gain momentum as an emerging artist. It helps provide the funding to pay for the materials needed to continuously investigate, experiment, and grow. Selling art online has really started to change the art world, and it’s allowing loads of new talent all over the world to have a chance at making a living off of their creativity.
What's next? Do you have any major plans/exhibitions planned for 2017?
I’ve got several projects currently underway for 2017, a few exhibitions, and a new body of performance art that I’m developing for an exhibition in 2018.