Monday, April 19, 2010

Visiting Artist Lecture: Josephine Taylor

This evening Josephine Taylor, an artist who lives and works in San Fransisco, came and gave a lecture about her work. Earning an undergraduate degree in Religious Studies, Josephine did not take the traditional route in art education. Her family was supportive, but did not see art as a viable career, a note that resonated with me personally. After working unfulfilled at a desk job, Josephine realized she did not value 'things' as others did. So she quit her job and started building her portfolio for grad school.

Working through the overwhelming fear of making "contemporary art" when unversed in the knowledge of art history and without the traditional schooling, Josephine struggled at first. This struggle led her to give up completely the notion of making "contemporary art" and simply make work for herself. She returned to her roots, picking up a pencil and paper, drawing her family as she had in her childhood. The subject matter that emerged was personal and honest, the terrifyingly truths of her youth. Josephine's father was diagnosed bipolar. He was an alcoholic and a drug addict. More frightening perhaps was Josephine's middle school experience, where she and many of her classmates were molested by faculty. These horror stories came out in her drawings. While many were pastel in palate, lending a rosy atmosphere, her work always carried a subtle undertone of violence.

Her work is intensely personal. Her best advice to the student body being to make personal work, be honest with yourself, it's ok to be afraid of what your working on, growth comes from a place of discomfort.

By the way, her work is ENORMOUS.

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