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GET TO KNOW

TAYLOR LOFTIN


 1. You are living in Fayetteville while you attend the University of Arkansas. What made you decide to attend that program?

I wanted to find a way to carve out more time to paint without going into debt paying for grad school. While I loved my day job in Memphis, my studio practice was progressing very sporadically. The UARK art department recently received a massive amount of funding from the Walton Foundation and they are putting it to great use to create an involved, multi-disciplinary, studio-intensive program that supplies artists with a lot of resources. 

2. What do you miss most about living in Memphis?

I miss my friends everyday, and feeling connected to a beautiful city that is rich in history.

3. When did your current practice begin?

I started painting when I was around 0-ish.

4. Have you always worked with paint?

Yes. I’m interested in all media, but something about painting has always made the most sense to me. I’m learning a lot of digital fabrication technology right now and exploring more sculptural ways of making, but I still tend to think about it in terms of painting. I think about how I can use this sculptural tool to push my paintings further. I’m pretty dedicated to surface.  

5. What is a typical day like in the studio for you?

Some days are really good, everything is in sync and falls into place. Material synergy. I have an iPod nano that I revived, so I can turn my phone off and minimize the interruptions. Other days it feels like slowly wading through a thick, muddy swamp and my boots keep getting sucked in the mud and snakes and spiders are all hissing from the sidelines. 100 degrees, 100% humidity. But the more consistent I am about going to the studio, staying focused, getting that routine down, the more I am able to finesse the hard days. And pushing through the struggle usually has its rewards.  

6. What themes or motifs are you drawn to?

I’m interested in looking back at my time growing up in Mississippi and bridging the narrative gap between then and now. Taking some time to learn how I became me. And, more importantly, I want to know how that kind of personal research and storytelling can connect to a larger audience. Motif-wise, this is manifesting itself in pretty funny ways. Like Hot Wheels and Dickies painter’s pants. 

7. What were you reading / listening to / watching while developing the work?

I check out movies from the public library. I’ve watched a lot of Wong Kar-Wai over the last year. I love The Fifth Element. Several Kurosawa samurai movies. In the studio I go between Sade’s “Love Deluxe” and “Soulside Journey” by Darkthrone (and all kinds of music in between), which is probably a sign of some kind of internal turmoil but I love it. And I most recently read Calvino’s “The Baron in the Trees”, which I really enjoyed. There’s no way I could point out evidence of any of this in my paintings, but it’s probably somewhere. 

8. Whose work is currently on your radar?

I recently saw the Hilma af Klint retrospective which was amaze. I’ve been thinking about Ronald Locket, Bill Traylor, Trenton Doyle Hancock, Allison Miller, Charline Von Heyl. Still thinking about that Marisol show from a few years back. And I get excited when I see new work by: Michael Shultis, Hiro Kurata, Aaron Fowler, Katya Tepper, Cameron Welch, Jon Nowell, Rahn Marion, Ty Barnes, Molly Marnes, Ziba Rajabi

Visit Taylor’s artist page here.