Kiyomi Quinn Taylor

  1. Name: Kiyomi Quinn Taylor       IG: @Kiyomitay     Location: New York    Website:

2. What inspired you to begin creating art?

When I was younger I loved to read but, I was very visual. It was much easier for me to formulate a picture (also, somehow less scary) than to choose words to express myself. As I learned more about creating things with my hands, I recognized that I could use materials (drawing, painting, collage) to express complicated feelings and stories without the choosing of specific words, but with instead choosing symbols, settings and characters in a way that employed my hands and my body; I was inspired to begin creating my own premeditated projects. Also, there were a lot of things that I found beautiful in my parents’ home: kimonos, paintings, and old photographs. I was excited about the idea of wrestling different, compelling, aesthetic elements from the world around me into my own creations. 

3. To what degree does your cultural background/heritage influence your work?

My cultural heritage has a huge influence on my work. My grandmother was Japanese. There were always old Japanese dolls in the house, woodblock prints, colorful, ornate kimonos and obis. That was a big influence. It stoked a love of texture and color.  Black culture on both sides of my family also inspired a love of style and color. And music – which though more tenuously related to my work, is apart of my upbringing, apart of many important relationships and has certainly had an effect on what I make and how I make it. Rhythm is in everything – either conceptually or in the physicality of the making. 

4. What draws you to create with this medium in particular?

I love collage and mixed media because I love texture and color, I also love literally drawing from the world around me. While I know I could mix any color I dream of, it is sometimes more exciting for me to come across a paper or a fabric or a textile in the world that I love and to find a way to use it harmoniously with painting or drawing or other collected materials in a larger work. 

5. How does the medium help to depict your ideas?

The medium is conducive to the ideas because just as I piece together ideas and images from many different places – different times in my life and the lives of my family members – into one story or one narrative image. I utilize techniques and materials pulled from equally disparate places to tell that story or depict that scene more faithfully and more directly. A “Frankenstein” usage of material accompanies a “Frankenstein” manner of story telling.

6. Why do you use the colors/textures/patterns that you do?

I use a lot of highly saturated colors. Lately I’ve also been using a lot of transparent vinyl and felt. I use highly saturated colors because I feel they evoke a certain psychological and emotional response – deliberate warmth to draw out a dream-like feeling. Almost like you are watching everything from beneath your eyelid. The vinyl and felt are extremes of textures, fuzzy/opaque and smooth/transparent that I employ to mimic different sensory essences from the world around us (both, indoor and outdoor.) I use vinyl to create windows and skylines and felt to create hills, grass, rugs etcetera. 

7. How would you describe the current trajectory of your work?

I would describe the current trajectory of my work as heading towards more movement, more text, and more materials. It is snowballing in complexity in a way that I hope will ultimately lead to more simple and impactful work when I figure out how to balance all these elements, old and new.

8. Who/what do you draw inspiration from creatively?

I draw the most creative inspiration from music, literature and theatre. Jazz, Soul, and R & B music gives me a litmus for concise, affecting sentiments told with many harmonious parts and told – ultimately – with rhythm. Earth, Wind and Fire, The Dramatics, Eddie Kendricks and The Emotions (and many others) are artists I often look to for rhythm/soulfulness to sustain physical making in the studio as well as for examples of earnest-feeling, affecting, precise, lyrical, story telling. From literature and theatre I draw the conscious building of meaningful scenes, settings, and characters. I love science fiction, high fantasy, and gothic horror literature especially – this has a big influence on the kinds of imagery I use in painting which, is sometimes related to “magical realism.” I think about specifically acting a lot as well. Especially in regard to manufactured earnestness, and measured/willfully executed “truthfulness” of action – tasks that are made much more difficult by the consciousness/awareness of an audience (just as in visual art.)

9. What do you do to pull yourself out of a creative block?

To pull myself out of a creative block I move my body. I like to go for runs. Nowadays, I am pretty emotionally and physically reliant on a series of online workout videos. I also like to read a book at night before bed always but I am extra religious about it if I am feeling creatively blocked. I’m always reading something fictional. 

10. What is the desired effect that you hope for your art to have on its viewers?

I hope that my art makes viewers feel like there is a world deeper and more complex underlying their own day-to-day world – like a great book does.

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