The Others

Meet the Others: Taylor Smith

The Game Changers. The Rule Breakers. The Innovators. Discover some of the fantastic emerging talent showcasing their work at The Other Art Fair.

Taylor Smith focuses on blending social awareness with science, mathematics, contemporary oil painting and artistic disciplines including silkscreen printing and analog film photography. Within her work, she seeks to combine abstraction and figuration with elements of science, traditional still life and portraiture. To accomplish this, she not only uses a wide variety of materials and mediums including reclaimed silkscreen frames, discarded analog technology, luxury brands and commercial packaging, but she also incorporates mathematics, organic chemistry, mechanics and photography into her work.

Taylor also works with 8mm film and other analog film mediums to blend the practice of filmmaking and painting. Her recent work explores the relationship between pop culture, luxury brands, political upheaval and crisis. Taylor’s intention is to blend painting with elements of technology, film, chemistry and mechanics to create an unexpected and transformative experience.

Q&A with the Artist

Tell us about who you are and what you do.  What is your background?

I received my B.A. from Indiana University and subsequently when in my early 20’s I moved to Europe to study painting. I found employment and continued my studies at the AdBK (Akademie der Bildenden Künste) in Berlin and Nürnberg, Germany, where I lived for approximately 6 years. I was born into a family of travel lovers and was fortunate to experience many different parts of the world from a very young age. I think this has deeply affected my worldview and allowed me to see things from a different perspective.

What are the major themes you pursue in your work?

Within my work, I use abstraction, figuration, chemical elements and pop art imagery to speak to the corruption of technology, science, people and our natural resources. To accomplish this, I use a wide variety of materials and mediums including discarded analog technology and commercial packaging, while also incorporating pop art imagery, organic chemistry, mathematics, mechanics and photography into works that interest me. I also work with 8mm film and other analog film mediums to blend the practice of filmmaking and painting. My recent work explores the relationship between abstraction, pop art, traditional portraiture and consumerism. Ultimately my intention is to blend painting with elements of social awareness, technology, chemistry and mechanics to create an unexpected and transformative experience.

How did you first get interested in your medium and what draws you to it specifically?

When I was younger, I imagined myself on a path to a career in writing. I would often find myself writing for publications more often than creating visual art. But this was ultimately limiting and I found it to be less fulfilling than creating visual art. My mother is an artist and I recall being very proud of her when I was young but I never imagined myself following her path. I enjoy being able to create a permanent record … an object … that captures my feelings or my thoughts, which can stand alone as a marker of that moment or emotion. I can walk away from it and return later to experience what I was feeling again and again.

How has your style and practice changed over the years?

As a young artist, I began creating color field and abstract works that bordered on expressionism, but ultimately over a lengthy period of time I found this to be somewhat unfulfilling to my vision. Over the past 20 years I have become more interested in blending mediums and materials that interest me to create more layered and complex works where the process and elements of a painting work together to make a statement that interests me or sometimes I find timely, painful, humorous or even ironic.

Can you walk us through your process? How long do you spend on one work? How do you know when it’s finished?

My process for my most current body of work, Luxurious Disaster: A 21st Century Tale of Love Fame & Tragedy begins with arranging and re-arranging vintage advertising images, chemical molecule formulas, brand logos and paint colors on the floor of my studio. The stories I am telling in this series are fragmented and layered, a mosaic of daily 21st century life viewed through the lens of consumerism, nostalgic illustrations from our past and pop art history. I combine abstract painting, drawing and screen printing into each work overlapping and influencing one another. If I am distorting or pixel glitching a familiar image as you might find on a bad hard drive, I use software to manipulate the image and then create a silk screen of the image to pull ink through onto my surface. So I am taking a vintage image from a newspaper or magazine advertisement, pulling it into the digital word, and then bringing it back out and applying to by hand to my surface. Evidence of the artist’s hand is found in all of my pixel glitch work. Luxurious Disaster is a visual expression of how my daily experiences and memories affect my feelings about American society and popular culture.

I tend to work in multiples, so I might begin 2 works or 5 works with similar theme and structure and work back and forth between them. Allowing layers to dry and folding in layers of screen print and drawing over oil and enamel paint, it can take anywhere from one week to a month for a work to be considered finished. And this goes back to my original sketches and arrangements on the studio floor. I have a sense of where I am going before I begin so I usually know when a work is finished. I wouldn’t want to keep working and muck it up.

What series or project are you working on next?

I will be recreating the entire Warhol Campbell’s Soup series of 32 screen print paintings on Lenox Museum Board in their original size and also a larger alternate size on canvas. However as with a large number of my current works, I will rearrange the familiar graphic elements in a pixel-glitch style with screen printing and hand painting to alter the meaning of the series. This repurposing and deliberate corruption of materials through pixel-glitch painting and screen printing speaks, I think, in a way to our collective memory loss and the way the world has changed since 1962. And just as this visual corruption speaks to our memory loss, incorporating luxury brand logos and other ephemera represents our very personal effort to represent ourselves as perfect in a vastly imperfect world.

What is the best advice given to you as an artist?

The best advice I can give is to observe what is happening around you and within society and comment through your work how this affects you. Even when observing other art forms and what your artistic peers are doing, it is important to take this in and add your imprint to this and make your mark.

Shop artwork by Taylor and other trailblazing artists at The Other Art Fair’s Online Studios.

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