Monday, 16 September 2013

Artist of the Week - Sally Taylor

Sally Taylor is a mixed media artist. She will be showing her work at the Brighton Art Fair this week with Duckett & Jeffreys.

What was your journey to becoming an artist?
I’ve always drawn pretty obsessively. My late mother always encouraged my sister and I to make things. It was that affirmation of the value of making that began the journey. Formally though, I did my degree and Masters at Lancaster University where as well as expanding my knowledge of materials and the formal elements in art I developed an ethos that was a great spring-board into being an artist and working in isolation in a studio.

Is being an artist your only job? 
I am also a lecturer in Fine Art – I teach at various places including on the degree programme at York St. John University. My studio practice and preparing for exhibitions take up the vast majority of my working life but I also provide workshops for galleries and schools / colleges.

One favourite living artist?  I was thrilled to bits to be selected for the third time for the Jerwood Drawing Prize in 2011 and Rachel Whiteread was one of the selectors. I’ve always really admired her practice and am currently enjoying looking at her drawings in my studio on a daily basis.

One favourite historical artist?
Louise Bourgeois. I think she’s the one I always return to when I am struggling to find direction. There are so many things I admired about her character - the tenacity and drive she had plus the emotional strength of her drawing practice. I would have loved to meet her although I would have been equally terrified!

 If you could collaborate with anyone living or dead, who would it be and what would you do?
I think it would be to gather a team of contemporary artists with drawing at the heart of their practice and to curate a really powerful exhibition of the varied and extensive range of drawing practice across the world.

Who is your style icon?
My friends with their brightly coloured cardigans!

Last book / film that blew your mind?Currently, I am reading ‘March Women March’ by Lucinda Hawksley. It is awe-inspiring.

How many hours do you waste on the internet each day?I actually avoid the internet as much as possible. I don’t see the time I spend on it as a waste but I think it can become a distraction from making work, as can be sweeping the floor of the studio and tidying it up – a constant way to procrastinate!

If you could live anywhere, where would it be and why?The places in the UK that are dear to me are where I currently live – on the edge of the North York Moors; Portsmouth – where I lived for 10 years before re-locating to Yorkshire, St.Ives, Cornwall – Porthmeor Beach for all its wonder and enchantment; and Great Langdale in the Lake District where my partner and I walked straight after getting married. I would love to live in New York, I was totally blown away by the sense of possibility there when I visited in 2006 – it felt like the centre of the universe!

 Where and what is your studio?
Just outside Stonegrave, North Yorkshire. Herbert Read lived in Stonegrave and I love that connection. Moving to North Yorkshire has been such a wonderful experience. I am surrounded by wonderfully supportive curators, artists, writers and educators including Ian & Stef Mitchell of Duckett and Jeffreys who have been such amazing ambassadors for my work.

Do you have a good work/life balance?
I try to. My family are central to all I do. I have a young son, Joel – two and a half, who always comes first and loves a visit to my studio. Our new life in the North revolves around the landscape too – we all love bird-watching.

What one word would describe your feeling of doing your work?

What would your dream commission be?
Time to make the work I want to make as opposed to working to any external brief. Aside from that – it would be to make work for a significant drawing show at the Tate or the Drawing Center New York. I was thrilled when the Head of Exhibitions at Tate Liverpool conducted an interview with me for my recent publication and I was accepted to be part of the ‘Viewing Programme’ at the Drawing Center New York around the same time.

If you could exhibit in any gallery in the world which would it be?
Aside from one of the Tate galleries in the UK or Museum of Modern Art New York, it would be either the Kroller Muller Museum in the Netherlands or the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Denmark. I had a small solo show at Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art in 2010-11 which was a real privilege – I love that place. I feel such a connection to the exhibition programme and the building feels so sacred.

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