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Art & Life with Taylor Lee

Today we’d like to introduce you to Taylor Lee.

Taylor, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
Originally from North Carolina, I have spent my entire life in the Southern United States (my husband is an ATL native). I learned the basics of acrylic painting from my grandmother, who was also a passionate gardener. As a child I was surrounded by hydrangeas, wisteria, cotton fields, and kudzu that spread like wildfire. It’s no coincidence that my abstract paintings resemble an overgrowth in flora and fauna. I was also influenced by Puebla City, Mexico, where I spent the summer of 2017 as an artist-in-residence with Mexican visual artist Francisco Guevara at the Arquetopia Foundation and International Artist Residency.

I have bipolar disorder, and this is an important component in my creative process. I see the world through the ever-twisting kaleidoscope of mania, experiencing extreme periods of high energy regularly as a result of bipolar disorder. I find ways to bring the reality of a stigmatized mental illness into a celebratory light, creating paintings that are buzzing with energy, movement, and loud colors.

Can you give our readers some background on your art?
I am a bright and color-obsessed artist with a passion for communicating through acrylic paintings, mostly abstract and some floral.

Pulling inspiration from Baz Luhrmann, Lisa Frank, and the pulsing crowds of general admission at a pop punk show, I explore concepts like maximalism, mania, and madness. I am most recognized for my bold use of concentrated color that often incorporates free-spirited marks that create dichotomies between the wild and thoughtful, the bold and vulnerable. You can expect a cacophony of colors in my work, applied in a celebratory disco of expressive brushwork. My style is somewhere at the crossroads of the naïve art movement and abstract expressionism.

Using my experience with mental illness as inspiration, I hope to use my artwork to visually convey how my mood affects the way I see the world, but more importantly I hope that my success as an artist inspires others with mental illness to understand their ability to thrive despite the limits of mental disorders.

Artists rarely, if ever pursue art for the money. Nonetheless, we all have bills and responsibilities and many aspiring artists are discouraged from pursuing art due to financial reasons. Any advice or thoughts you’d like to share with prospective artists?
Yes, it definitely does. I see a lot of artists who try to run before they can walk. They will have a handful of IG followers and be like “now accepting commissions!!” I think that this is admirable, and I definitely was one of those eager beavers once, but I think that if I could go back in time and tell myself something it would be this: Focus on being absolutely enamored with whatever you’re making. As Van Gogh said, “What’s done in love is done well.” That passion will not only lead to amazing breakthroughs creatively, but it will keep the fire burning when no one or nothing else is encouraging you. Chances are if you are massively obsessed with your work someone else is going to become obsessed with it, too, and then you won’t be able to stop people from throwing money at you.

Also, don’t price too high too early. Art isn’t just for rich people, so don’t price it to be. I still sell work in the $50-200 range, and I sell loads of it that way. I’d rather have ten people pay me $300 this month than to wait an entire year for some imaginary patron to come through and give me $3000. I view it as being crowdfunded.

What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
I mostly post to Instagram, but I also have a website!

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Mikayla Christiansen

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