Artist Spotlight: Taylor Smith

Like found objects or the marks and stains of human existence, Smith's work has a seemingly accidental beauty.

BY Christopher Harrity

March 08 2014 5:00 AM ET


Duchess of Canterbury in Early Morning Light, 36" x 48"; oil, acrylic, wine, and charcoal on canvas

How would you describe your art?
I enjoy creating the Chemical Still Life series of work I have developed, because it is profoundly abstract and so starkly pairs science and art. To me, art and science are a beautiful yin and yang combination, but to many people it is one that is quite unexpected. There is a beauty in science, math, and chemistry which I feel pairs nicely with the softer, more subjective side of the arts. I also think the detail within the pieces tend to draw people in, and any time you can pull the viewer in it offers them an opportunity to draw their own conclusions and think more about art. That is a very good thing.

One evening in my studio I was working on a painting lying flat on the floor (which is how I often paint). I accidentally knocked a bottle of wine over next to it, which spilled and stained the canvas in a very beautiful and unique way. I began imagining ways to creatively use wine in my artworks, and over the years this has actually resulted in a very serendipitous relationship with several wineries in Napa Valley, Calif. The Mondavi family, which also owns the 150-year-old Charles Krug Winery, began collecting my work, and Peter Mondavi also featured one of my paintings he owns in a promotional video for the winery last fall. The winery not only owns many of my paintings, but it also sells my fine art prints in the Charles Krug tasting room. Over the next several years, I hope to have prints of my artwork available for sale in wineries across the USA as well as internationally.

I also love working with metallic pigments, particularly gold. I began painting a series of abstract landscape pieces several years ago, which were inspired by a trip I took to Asia. The rich golden light and wildflowers I recall from my time in Thailand truly made an impression on me. I have interpreted it into a very distinct series of work, which I feel is both calming and mysterious. Again, the texture and detail tend to draw people in and allow them to experience the feeling and vision I hope to share. They also change during the day as the light in a space changes and it reflects various levels of warmth from the golden tones. So many people share with me that these pieces bring them a peaceful feeling.

I love being an artist. I hope that people continue to feel passionate enough about my work to collect it. I hope to never do anything else. I think it would be fantastic to be 95 years old and still creating, still painting in my studio. Now, that’s a life!

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