There is something unexplainable about the beauty of the cosmos. The immensity of the universe is simply startling and overwheleming. It is difficult to grasp that until late last century, we did not know much about interstellar space. The launch of the Hubble Telescope, in 1990, gave humans a view of the universe we had never seen before or even imaged – images of distant galaxies, nebulas, and stars. However, there is still so much to discover that it would take centuries, if not millennia, for humans to be able to decipher the secrets of the universe.
When our Creative Arts Director, Isabel Merchand, approached me about the abstract artist, Jennifer Taylor, I was immediately intrigued and amazed. Her work depicts beautiful images of our skies and the universe. The process, colors, and inspiration behind her paintings spoke to me deeply, as I am an avid space enthusiast who tends to spend hours reading about space, the unknown, and the many possibilities undiscovered in outer space.
I feel very excited, and proud to have this acclaimed artist featured on Guild Magazine.
1 – Jennifer, can you tell us a bit about how you started as an artist, your education, and career?
Throughout my whole life, I have created art in some form or another. My earliest memory was painting a portrait of my mother when I was four years old. Throughout my school education, studying art was my strongest subject. I later went on to study art and design in college. From there, I am self-taught. At present, I am 38 years old, still learning, exploring and growing as an artist. I don’t think this ever stops. It’s a never-ending journey.
2 – What inspires you to create?
I am deeply fascinated by nature and the universe. I have always been intrigued by its presence; always pondering its existence; how intricate and beautiful it all seems to be. I think as an artist, in any art form, your work is your interpretation of the things you see and that inspire you. The universe is my greatest source of inspiration.
3 – What do you do to get your “creative juices” flowing before working on a painting?
I absolutely love looking at other artist’s work. My work falls into an abstract expressionistic genre, so gazing at other works in this genre really get my ‘creative juices’ flowing. I have also amassed a collection of books about the cosmos and love to read through these when a quiet moment is to be had.
4 – Can you see the finished product in your mind before you start it?
I must admit that I don’t. I will, however, have a vague idea. I am a visual person and have worked with little mock-up paintings. But, I love not knowing. I love to see the piece emerge and come to life before my eyes. It’s this ‘not knowing’ that I love. It’s a little journey, a voyage of discovery.
5 – How do you manage to stay both personal and original in your creative endeavors?
To me, the most important thing is creating the best work I can at this point with the skills I have. I think you’re truly ‘tapping’ into your essence and bringing it to life on the canvas. Little things help me with this. I have absolutely no distractions in my studio, no TV, computer or radio. I turn my phone off and get to work. I didn’t always work this way, but in recent years, it’s utterly essential to creating my work. I love that feeling of just me, my imagination, some paint, and brushes.
6 – Have you ever doubted your talent? If so, how did you work through your doubts?
In my life, I have had lots of doubts. I am a bit of a natural worrier, eventhough, it has eased off as I have gotten older. I had a bit of a difficult childhood. I came out of it extraordinarily anxious and unsure of myself; however, I have never doubted my art.
My creativity was always my friend. Art was an escape. I loved going into my own world and still do now. The bond I have had with art has never waned, for which I am truly thankful.
I have also learned that you have to be brave. Creating art is quite a private thing, and putting it out there in the world can be nerve-wracking. However, for me, I just have to create. Even if no one else in the world would like my work, I would still be creating. It’s something I cannot switch off; an itch I just can’t scratch!
7 – Who or what has helped you to persevere and not quit?
I am thankful that I met my partner nearly 20 years ago. He had to overcome things in his childhood, too. He has, without a doubt, been a rock for me. He is a musician. We have grown together, struggled together and learned together. He has helped me to keep going and not quit on my dreams. I am genuinely thankful for that!
8 – What do you feel has been your most significant achievement as a professional artist?
I honestly feel achievements come every week – the little breakthroughs, the little moments of inspiration. I treasure those and feel blessed to have them. However, I can say that my most significant achievement is the breakthrough of selling my work locally and internationally, and have the collectors contact me to express their gratitude for the work. It still means the world every time a piece sells. This will never wane.
9 – What is the best advice that you have been given as an artist?
My father was a very positive force in encouraging my artist flare and had much advice. I also had a wonderful art professor who would always tell me to follow what was in my heart, and that art is a feeling more than anything else. I still hold onto that.
10 – What advice would you give to up-and-coming artists?
I think that if being creative in any field is what you truly want to do, you should follow it. As they haven’t yet confirmed a form of reincarnation, you may only have this one window, this one life, this one little chance to give the world something that is locked inside you. You should follow it. For me, I like to think about the future, to a time when my time is up and coming to an end. I would hate to look back in regret and wonder, “what if?”
11- How would you like for people to remember you and your art?
It would be a real honor to be remembered as an artist that explored the farthest reaches of imagination. Like we have talked about, I am deeply intrigued by the universe and in turn, by imagination. Both of these things are infinite, or so they say! – GM
Images courtesy of Jennifer Taylor