Taylor McKimens' studio is a lot like an art funhouse; filled with bizarre relics, odd sculptures, stacks of amazingly obscure records, huge paintings, and LOTS of paint. The New York artist has created a unique style of work that seems to be a precise whirlwind of sporadic expression and refined technique. His colorful, psychedelic paintings draw a captivating interest from almost anyone who happens to view them, and his surreal plant sculptures seem to blur dimension and space, making you feel like you’re inside a comic book… Pretty trippy.
Old Pal sat down with Taylor for a quick doodle, and asked a few questions.
Your work has always appeared to be heavily psychedelic, is there any trippy influence to your paintings?
Definitely. I grew up pretty afraid of drugs “frying my brain,” but always found nature pretty psychedelic, and specifically the desert near Yuma Arizona where spent my childhood. I’ve always found traditional painting to be an overly-tame depiction of reality.
Is there an intention behind your work?
Partially. I’m very trusting of intuition in the work, and that drives a lot of the choices I make. But, I also find that I’m drawn to poke at people’s sensitivities when it comes to social status and how that relates to the type of imagery they identify with. I like making work that blurs and challenges people’s views of avant-garde versus a more mainstream pop visual language.
What’s with the plant sculptures?
I love how they are so many things at the same time. They exist as 3-Dimensional drawings, sculpture, or as a plant. Plants are such strange sculptures as it is.
I know you have a background in illustration and drawing and this is very obvious in your paintings, but you have presented this style in a more ‘fine-art’ realm. How do these two arenas of art work with each other?
It’s an interesting dilemma. In my opinion it’s all a visual language. Artists have a visual accent that is formed when they were first learning to make images. The first imagery they were studying, whether it was museums in city centers or if they are like me, cereal boxes, cartoons and the likes, which were all I had access to at the time.
I’ve learned about the history of painting late in my artistic development and am interested in it mainly, but I refuse to shake off my visual roots. Honesty it is at the core of what makes art its best.
Your studio is like a fun house or comic shop, filled with odd nicknacks and nostalgic artifacts. What kinds of items are you drawn to and why?
I’m always drawn to things that seem to split or blur genres. I like things that seem to be conveying total opposite energies at the same time. Interesting clashing and conflict which make things more complex and layered. Life is confusing and unsettling. It’s what makes it so powerful and mysterious. Many people strive to simplify things and make them easier to understand or like. I like the things that don’t get streamlined and diluted.
Follow Taylor’s work: @taylormckimens