Jennifer Taylor has always been more comfortable in creative settings. She has had a successful career as an actress and simultaneously kept her home occupied with repainted and re-appropriated items and her own paintings. Inspired by a mixture of life experiences and NPR broadcasts, Taylor’s work would fit comfortably with the work of early widely praised twentieth century western art movements. In the summer of 2010, SIFC took a brief tour of her Riverside studio and asked her some questions about her work and career.
Tempestt Hazel: Tell us a bit about your self and your artwork.
Jennifer Taylor: I’ve always doodled – literally, in the margins of my grade school papers – but in 1985 my husband gave me a Christmas gift of oil pastels and paper. A switch went off and I started spending every free hour of my day drawing with those pastels. Then I moved to oils.
TH: How does living/working or being from Chicago influence your creative practice?
JT: Chicago is a working city. I’ve lived in NY and LA. Chicago is real. I’m interested in doing the work more than I am in fame or acknowledgement.
TH: Describe the moment that you realized that you wanted to make art a career.
JT: I’m not completely interested in art as a career. I just need to make it.
TH: Can you remember your first memorable encounter with a piece of artwork?
JT: My mother had prints of famous artists in our northern Wisconsin home which stood out as ‘strange’ to most of my friends. Picasso. Van Gogh. Russeau. Miro.
TH: How have people responded to your work until this moment? Are you ever shocked by this response? How do you handle these responses?
JT: Some really love and collect my work. Many others say it wouldn’t really work above their sofas. I just laugh and understand.
TH: Where would you like to see yourself and your work in the next 5 years?
JT: I imagine a home by water. It’s made of stone and has a small garden. There is a studio in the back yard. I have a gallery somewhere that sells my work.
TH: Do you remember the first piece of work you ever created in your career? How does it compare to the most recent?
JT: I sometimes like my earlier pieces more than my current ones. I threw most of the early ones out (I believe a neighbor used to fish them out of the garbage). They were simple and true with no effort. I could paint 10 paintings a day. Today, I’m a little more interested in depth and layers. And the paintings take longer to complete.
TH: Shameless plug: What are you doing right now? What shows are you in or preparing for? What series of work are you investigating, starting or thinking about starting?
JT: I’m thinking about returning to my acting career with a renewed vigor and pursuit. I’d like to be able to fill the rest of my time with painting. Lately, I have an urge to paint the exterior of an entire house or the side of a barn or a car.