Briefly describe the work you do.
I use a variety of different images from my experiences, paint them, scan them, print them, stitch them, and paint them again to reflect on the world and how we might see ourselves in it.
Tell us a little about your background and how that influences you as an artist.
I’m part of a nomadic generation that pursued graduate degrees for a better future but now that I’m working three low wage part time jobs to live, I have to say, this effects me the most as an artist.
The concept of the “artist studio” has a broad range of meanings, especially in contemporary practice. The idea of the artist toiling away alone in a room may not necessarily reflect what many artists do from day to day anymore. Describe your studio practice and how it differs from (or is the same as) traditional notions of “being in the studio.”
I’m very fortunate at the moment to have gotten a temporary studio residency to construct work, which is big, but the work doesn’t develop in a bubble. I’ll reflect on whatever is going on in my life and the world and filter through images on my computer of my experiences. This could be going through thousands of images to find a few so that only then I might begin to materialize a series.
What unique roles do you see yourself as the artist playing that you may not have envisioned yourself in when you first started making art?
I don’t think any artist anticipates how much time and work goes into everything around making art when they first start. Even if you were lucky enough to be born a rich artist, and fewer still, then came to develop strong work there will always be a to do list of administrative tasks and time suck life changes to actually get recognition. Even if adjuncts aren’t paid a living wage for the work we do I’m still lucky enough to have the personality and love for doing it. I think it should be said that you’re…let’s say misguided if you go into making art for money.
When do you find is the best time of day to make art? Do you have time set aside every day, every week or do you just work whenever you can?
When I remember first developing my art I worked best where I lived after waking up and in the slow moments at night. Now I drive to work in a studio whenever I’m able and not exhausted.
How has your work changed in the last five years? How is it the same?
I have always had the opposite problem from most of the artists I’m around. Of course in art school work changes a lot and frequently as usually it should but my work has had have a major shift on average every six months for 10 years now. Whether it’s a new material, process, or perspective on my praxis altogether I can’t seem to get away from the draw of something ‘new’.
Are there people such as family, friends, writers, philosophers or even pop icons that have had an impact on the work you do?
Aside from student loans, the past and present history of contemporary art, a certain sensibility, and friends and family there’s nothing else that’s been more central to the development of my work than my relationships.
If you had an occupation outside of being an artist, what would that be and why?
I have no idea what other occupation I would or could enjoy doing. All my major life decisions have been steered by my dream to become an art teacher making art since I discovered it was a possibility…is winning the Powerball jackpot with ultimate judicial powers while traveling as an altruistic ninja an option?
Born in Jackson, Tennessee, Tommy Taylor moved near Nashville and then to Knoxville before moving to Iowa City then London and now Raleigh. While he continued to develop his work at Goldsmiths University, and acclimating to London life, he quickly traveled throughout Europe and Asia. Tommy Taylor has a history of exhibitions in the USA and London as an emerging artist. While teaching part time at the University of Iowa he presented at AERC in Chicago but chooses for the moment to teach, work, and write in North Carolina.
All images copyright of the artist and used with their permission.