Austyn Taylor – Fuck it Keep Working

by Rubén Palma
Share this

Born in New York, Taylor has a nomadic studio practice working around the world as a visiting resident artist. Her works have traveled across the globe as well, finding collections in Lebanon, Japan, Mexico, United Kingdom, South Korea, Spain, China, France, Taiwan, Netherlands, Belgium, United States, Germany, Canada, Denmark, Indonesia, New Zealand and Hong Kong. She is currently based deep in the coastal redwoods of Mendocino, CA, USA.

Hi Austyn. It’s a pleasure to sit down with you. First question. And I know you’re currently at a residency in Beirut. But let’s say you were back home in Mendocino right now. How would a regular day look like for you?

Hella loaded on coffee at 7am, breakfast. emails and insta messages. write down all the tasks that needs to be done then pick 3 most important and do that first. lunch 12, dinner 6 work as hard as I can from 7am to 12am. Walk in and listen to nature every few days.

Alright. Let’s jump right into it. When and how did you get introduced to ceramics? 

I was a painter and got a job teaching middle school art at 23. The classroom I inherited was completely trashed art teacher hoarder style. 35 bags of garbage removed and I found a wall of boxes of clay. I started teaching clay and the kids loved it. A student told me “Ms.Taylor you should be an artist!” I quit and began pursuing ceramics. 

So what is it about ceramics that makes it your preferred choice for expressing yourself?

Working with the raw earth is immensely satisfying and interesting. Rather than a window world of hallucinatory painting, sculpture really is in the real world and influences the energies around it. Sculpture takes up room and I like that.

Can you tell me a little bit about your creative process. From start to end result?

I jump in with intuition leading the way. Sometimes I do sketches ahead of time, the work always changes a bit once in the material.

The unique look you apply to your ceramics, with the dots, or small holes. How long has it taken you to develop that? And what is it about that look that appeals to you?

I am not sure what you are reffering too? I think you mean the work that looks like crochet? That is done with coil building and pressing my thumb into the clay. It started out practical, an artist friend Sam Jernigan said that if I want to build big I HAVE to build that way. I was reluctant at first but once I embraced the rules, it has been one of the coolest and most beautiful discoveries! I like that it looks very vibrational and warm.

With that in mind. What is the inspiration for the various animals or creatures you create? 

Ancient ceramic art from around the world, the old real animism of tribal humans relating to their world. American animation and illustrations, I always wondered what the character where doing off the page when not performing. 

Last year (2022), you had 22 shows in 14 different countries. I’m curious. Do you ever get nervous or have any kind of rituals before exhibitions?

Just fucking go. Do research. Trust your gut. The concept of “nervousness” was invented by manipulators trying to steal souls, you have one life, be brave.

Traveling as much as you do, and living the nomadic lifestyle. Has that in anyway influenced your work? If so. How?

It’s been 8 years, not sure what my work would be if I stayed in one location. I certainly learned a ton of tricks of the trade i didn’t know when I started. My work is appealing to a universal experience with animals, everywhere on earth people relate to animals. 

While we’re on the subject. Can you talk to me a little bit about the process of residencies? Like how they start etc..

Residencies start by getting all the supplies in place, then hitting it as hard as you can, until you are done.

Are there anybody you look up to? Could be anybody..

I look up to artist’s that have “made” it. It is such an interesting game to play as an artist and I am so curious as to how everyone gets to their positions. 

How would you describe a perfect day?

Wonderful coffee, good breakfast, perfect flow in the studio, good news, sales, a new show offer in a new country, surprise lunch, walk in nature, flow in the studio, something thought provoking,  and informative to listen to on YouTube. 

What’s your favorite movie(s) and why?

Gosh that is a big question! I am not sure about movies- I like A Pervert’s Guide to Ideology, Century of Self, Baraka and Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth. All of these help make sense of reality.

What songs do you currently have in rotation?

The entire “Ugly is Beautiful” album by Oliver Tree was my 2021 anthem. >_< summer 2022 was “Oldies playing in a coffee shop and it’s raining ” by nemo’s dreamscape on youtube. 2023 has been French music I don’t understand:).

Alright Austyn. Last question… Any thoughts / shoutouts before we wrap it up?

Yes! Have brain, will travel

Related Articles