Perth Artist Di Taylor is so passionate about the artwork she creates, you can feel it when viewing her paintings without even meeting her. And behind her passion to create art, is her love of life, colour, the beach, people, and travel which then turns into a burning desire to get it all onto canvas.
“I see beauty in colour everywhere and want to master it, put it down in large swabs of colour, on the canvas, or wall, or the floor. Showing movement and colour is what drives me whether it is figurative or landscape.”
Di Taylor’s contribution to the Perth art world is commendable, and is another string that shows her dedication to the profession she has chosen for herself and happily encourages for others. JahRoc Galleries have been exhibiting and selling Di Taylor’s work for nearly 10 years now and we have seen her career go from strength to strength.
Q&A – Getting to know….Di Taylor
When did you first feel the desire to be artistic and realise you had talent?
My father and mother were artistic but it was when my dad bought a very large painting for our new home in Sydney when I was 10 years old. I loved the colours and textures and how it covered the wall and filled the house with life. I use to run my hands over the paint to feel and smell it. I knew then that that was what I wanted to do make beautiful paintings that change the world we live in. It was a Robert Juniper in his early days, I was fortunate enough to know him and tell him that he inspired me to paint.
Where did you learn your art?
Painting at school, art was the one thing I was good at and won an award in 6th class. So I struggled to stay at school complete my HSC so I could go to Art College. In those days it was called the Alexander Mackie College of Art in the Old East Sydney Technical College. I had to do a Tafe course fist to Qualify to get in and I actually think that is where I learnt most of the skills I use today. Great drawing and technical teachers especially how to use and mix colour. I was bitterly disappointed with The National Art School, it was unfortunately a typical 70’s scene with students and freedom of expression being the only thing that mattered, most students were stoned or just not even showing up to the studios. I had a studio appointed to me in the round tower of the old Sydney Jail. Wonderful the cooking school was just outside so every week the meat truck would rock up full of bones and raw smelly meat to collect to offal. To my horror my window looked straight into the open truck and It was something that fascinated me but also stuck firmly in my memory of those days..
To return to the question “where” did I learn? Answer, every day, every line I experiment with, ever artist from my Mum teaching me life drawing to the you tube artist I watched yesterday, to the ‘Turner’ I stared at for hours in the National Portrait Gallery in London last year, I’m a sponge and I hope to always be learning, continually changing and growing, with the accumulation of knowledge.
What inspires you most?
Colour..!!! I see beauty in colour everywhere and want to master it, put it down in large swabs of colour, on the canvas, or wall, or the floor. Showing movement and colour is what drives me whether it is figurative or landscape. My work starts with an emotional response to a colour or combination of colours; I want to fill the room with that emotion, that feeling, that it makes you feel when you see those colours. Then as the work progresses I realize there’s a narrative behind, where and when and how I saw those colours and why I wanted to paint them. The work expands into the narrative and sometimes becomes all-encompassing, with just the colour and a support for the emotion behind the narrative.
Believing in my journey and where the experiments will take me, my intuitive mark making, my ability to draw, my expression of humanity in all my work, is what drives me to be better, freer and more dynamic an artist in all materials. This is what drives in on what I will discover in the work I will do next.
What message are you sending to the viewer of your art?
I hope my work says ‘STOP!!, look, take a moment, wow!! colour movement. That feels familiar? I recognize that, where is it from? I want to fill my life with that feeling!! That is what I feel when I paint so I hope the viewer feels that too.
To be connected to your emotional response to a work of art, allow yourself the ability to enjoy imagery, on all levels, smell, touch, see, what it is that you like in the work, what do you feel when you stopped to look’. “I implore everyone to purchase work you are passionate about, not just a decoration or matching the furniture, try to create a space that you passionately want to live and be in, not just now, but for the rest of your life, as you grow old you sit and ponder the marks on the canvas, question what it could be, is there something hiding in there I haven’t seen yet ”
Describe your studio?
I have a large tarp on the floor as I start most of my paintings horizontal on the ground. There is also an old treadle singer sewing machine stand that was my mum’s and that is covered with glass as my palate. There is also a full trestle table full of I liter pots of mixed colours of acrylic paint. Inks and large bucket of brushes standing in easy reach of the palate. In the corner near the book case there is a few long rods that have charcoal taped to the end with masking tape. This is how I draw at least a meter away from the canvas or paper.
I have some of the newly finished work hanging on the walls. I’ve tried to create a space that is engaging to everyone. As a senior in the industry I think it’s very important to try and build awareness about artists and our lives on a daily basis. I work 6 days a week and will answer any question that is posed to me. My studio always has music playing that is relevant to my mode or intensity of the work I’m doing. Most canvases I work on are large over a meter square so the whole of the street see me carrying them down the street, struggling against the wind, with paint splattered cloths and usually in my hair and hands. I am real, there is no pretension or elitism to ostracize the locals.
Describe your typical day of creating art?
I stay at home doing emails in the morning, and saunter off to the studio around 10am, where I start with a coffee from the local barista that knows just how to make my personnel blend for me. Then inspect last night’s efforts, to see what has dried and how it’s progressed through the night. I decide on the music and the volume is determined by how much work I have to do to rescue the work in progress. I’m comfortable in this space now, the lighting and temperature, just comes naturally now so work can flow. If there are no further interruptions, I’m away with the brushes laden with large quantities of paint. I will paint move back to the other end of the studio, and even dance merrily until I can see a pleasing result. Then if I’ve poured paint I will need to walk away and leave it to dry a while. I will head for a late lunch or snack that I’ve brought with me. I can move the painting to one side and leave it to dry overnight. Where upon, I will grab a new canvas from the storage shed and start afresh.
Or finish another waiting for final details to be completed. Then come with fine brushes and mixing colours to make small detailed images emerge from the colours. The canvas is now moved to the easel on the wall and horizontal. Final work is done and photos documented the paintings. The end of the day is consumed with doing large pours of large quantiles of paint on either new work, or work in progress or sealing the paintings so they can lie flat to dry overnight. I clean all my brushes and equipment thoroughly every night before I go home so that I start fresh again the next day. I will email my galleries the new work or Facebook the images from home.
What mediums do you use and why?
My paints are acrylic and every other conceivable medium I apply trying this and that to get richness and texture or noen light or resin to achieve the vision I have in my head of the finished work.
What are you working on now?
I’ve just completed a 2 sq. meter beautiful landscape from the Kimberly’s. Now I’m drawing on the beach at Prevely to water and the sunset last night, a dog waiting patiently looking out at his owner swimming in the bay. I’m here for two weeks, I will draw and paint what I see by the ocean. Blues, greys greens, sands and round curvy figures that wander slowly into the liquid gold ocean on sun set.
What do you love most about what you do?
My ability to show something in a way people have not seen it before, enriching our lives by putting colour, line texture and movement on the walls. To paint with passion and honesty, creating a narrative that is as common as the local café, but as emotional and as elderly woman seeing her self-running on the sand with her sister that is no longer with her. The memories of the past and predictions of the future can be evoked with a simple line or mark, what I have come to understand that it is not about the artist, it is about the person who responds to the work. Their story, their journey within the painting is what continues into the future.
Where can you see yourself in 10 years time?
I will still be painting, still enjoying exhibiting, in many other countries, painting less but loving it more. In a large warehouse studio, working with other artists, as a mentor and advocate for the arts. Becoming a political voice for the artists and building the industry for WA. Currently I’m on the Board of Director of Artrinsic Inc. running the Black Swan Portrait Prize, and I work as Ambassador for Save the Children, I will always work with a philanthropic attitude to create opportunity for change in a society that is endangers the survival of a minority group. Art can create a language that crosses all barriers. I hope to die at least 90 yrs with a paint brush in my hand.