A few questions with Tommy Taylor

Muriel Vega talks with Tommy Taylor about his exhibition at Ponce City Market


In collaboration with Whitespace and Ponce City Market, Tommy Taylor is exhibiting his roots in abstract painting with Senga, a pop-up installation inspired by Japanese line work. Using monochromatic lines throughout his pieces, Taylor moves away from his usual vibrant colors and layering and embraces the simplicity of the india ink. A veteran at Art Basel Miami, Taylor has shown his work locally at Whitespace Gallery, Marcia Wood Gallery and Swan Coach House, and elsewhere in New York City, Alabama, and Italy. Here, Taylor talks to CL about coming back to ink, working at Ponce City Market, and what's next.

The show has a fleeting, temporary feeling due to wall components. What inspired you when working on it?
The show does have a temporary and fleeting feeling which is why I was glad that there was such a nice turnout at the opening and that it felt more like an event that night. Producing artwork is such a solitary experience, it's nice to end that time with a party!

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What made you come back to the simplicity of Japanese line work and neutral colors?
A few months ago I was invited, like many Atlanta-based artists, to participate in an auction of live drawings to be sold as soon as they were finished at the High Museum. My drawings can take hours or days to complete, so I wanted to come up with something that had more of an immediacy and impact for this event. Lines have always figured into my work and I was reminded of a mural I came up with many years ago for a night club that was similar to this current work. I decided to try it and the response was very positive. Susan Bridges, owner of Whitespace Gallery, and I were able to meet with the folks at Ponce City Market about the potential for a show. I wanted to take over the whole space, to paint every inch. They agreed that this could be done, so this more streamlined work and a return to the original mural idea seemed a perfect fit.

Was it different working with ink instead of your usual layering, bright collages and oil paintings?
There is a substantial difference working with ink than with oil paint. Like my earlier abstract paintings, these are improvisational works. But unlike oil or acrylic, you can't change you mind or direction and you can't just paint over it when it dries. Once a mark is made it is permanent. It's like a game of chess. Once a move is made, it changes the whole dynamic of the rest of the game. From there, one has to adapt and adjust with every successive move, or in this case, brush stroke. Success or failure depends on how well I am able to do this.


Ponce City Market continues to be an exciting thing for the future of Atlanta. How was your experience setting up there and preparing for the show?
The people at Ponce City Market conceived the idea and were integral to the realization of this show. They were great and Sandi Parker really went to bat for me in convincing the owners to let me go all out and paint designs all over the walls. It seems that all the staff there are very forward thinking with a lot if energy and great ideas. They seem to want to continue to incorporate the community and the creative community into what they are doing. I am very appreciative of that just as I am for the opportunity to participate and show there.

What's next for you?
Currently I have some pretty sizable projects upcoming with Flags of Origin. As well there will be some artwork and murals to be made for some Starbucks stores in Orlando and Miami. In the meantime, I will be making some music videos with some local bands. Filmmaking is an exciting and new experience for me and I am eager to see what I can do with that. And as always, I will be making my next body of paintings.

Senga, a pop-up installation by Tommy Taylor, runs through March 1 at Ponce City Market. More details at the gallery.