All we really want from art is fun and good vibes to disguise the serious. And this is something Taylor White gives us. I caught up with him to discuss his playfully energetic paintings and to find out a little more about how they are born into our world. Scroll down for images and head to the bottom to find him on Instagram.
I love your paintings for their confidence, playfulness, vibrancy and the way in which they are composed. How enjoyable are they for you to make?
Thanks! For me, the entire act of painting from building a stretcher to actually making decisions and interacting with the surface of the work is something that I do purely out of the desire to entertain myself, and to satisfy my curiosity with how materials and tools can be controlled, or how to intentionally lose control of them.
Where do you take inspiration from for paintings such as ‘Pop Queen vs. Nature”, 2017 (above)?
With that painting, I was having a debate with a friend about Beyonce, and how she’s such a huge icon in the music industry, but insignificant when compared to the awesome power of nature.
Arguments, conversations, or overheard segments of conversations are often something I use as a catalyst to beginning a painting, but once the work begins, I don’t feel any obligation to try to illustrate that initial prompt. The titles are often simply a way for me to remember what I was thinking about when I made the work, to remember the time period. In that painting, I made several segments of the work in my yard after having this Beyonce vs. Nature debate. It was really hot outside. I remember my wife backing the car out of the driveway while I was working.
You’ve used acrylic, oils, spray paints, cyanotype, charcoal and plastics in your works. How important are the mediums you use, in relation to the subject of your works?
I’m not interested in intentionally communicating anything with the selection of materials. They’re not metaphorical or anything like that. I’m interested in how certain materials behave, and often how they defeat my efforts to control them. For instance, compressed charcoal is something that is in the vast majority of my work, and it's something so direct and primal feeling to use while at the same time being something that is delicate and can easily be smudged by accident. Accidents in paintings really excite me. They force me to abandon my initial plan, and they often allow me to take my work in an unexpected direction.
What one piece of advice would you give to an artist who is currently struggling to produce work?
I think one of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever received was given to me by a professor. She told me to stop making work about things, and make work from something. That is something that I continually return to. I think of it like walking into a forest without any preconceived destination, no map, no attempt at navigation, simply allowing curiosity to pull me deeper into the forest. This might be terrible advice for some artists, but it really helped me when I needed it.
Follow Taylor @taylor.a.white