Johnny Taylor | Artist’s Statement
My paintings explore the things we look at each day without seeing. Though everything is game imagery-wise, I am drawn to advertising images and glyphs, the visual shorthand of contemporary culture.
Bright colored blocks compose my acrylic and mixed media paintings. I enjoy the look and feel of loose, graffiti-like marks, text, and “noise” against these vividly hued planes. Usually I paint with layers, with each new layer showing a bit of the one beneath, either by transparency, the masking of certain areas, or by a scraping away of recent layers. Often this process yields unexpected colors and forms. Similarly, I use corrugated cardboard, bubble wrap and other common items to apply paint in tightly striped registers.
My fine art influences include Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, Stuart Davis, Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat. I’m also influenced by the regional art of my native American South, especially by Southern folk artists’ use of text as both a thematic and decorative element. The Quilts of Gee’s Bend are a key influence. I also draw inspiration from graffiti art, specifically the stylized, single gesture marks of graffiti tagging.
In a sense my painting’s are post-modern landscapes- I paint what I see. A painting’s composition may derive from an underpass’ blocky, irregular patchwork of painted-over graffiti. Another piece’s umber and vermillion color scheme may be inspired by a business sign I’ve seen on a street that I travel regularly. My practice of applying layer upon layer and the subsequent masking and tearing away of those layers to reveal previous layers is informed by the abandoned billboard’s peeling layers revealing bits of images that came before, scraps of its history visible all at once.