Five 21st-Century Pop Artists Take On Contemporary Culture at Artspace Warehouse
Johnny Taylor is inspired by what he observes day to day: graffiti, murals, hand painted signs, graphic design, vintage advertising, store displays, package design. "I always liked the illustrations of vintage print ads. They are more realistic than cartoons or comics, but then they are idealized, too. Since they are meant to get your attention quickly, they tend to be bold and easy to understand with crisp, clean lines. I never really learned to draw from nature, so I have always sought out this simplified, 2-D version of the world to make my own designs from. You can see the irregular edges of the stroke, like the edges of torn paper. I also like the look of taking really simple designs and shapes and stacking them, creating something interesting and complex. I use layering to show fragments of designs peeking out underneath other fragmentary compositions. This is my attempt to convey the visual experience of modern urban life."
Signature: Signed on front
The paintings of Los Angeles-based artist Johnny Taylor explore the visual cacophony we encounter every day without taking the time to really observe. Working in acrylic, marker, screen print, and spray paint on canvas or wood, Taylor finds inspiration in the visual detritus of the urban landscape: graffiti, murals, hand-painted signs, graphic design, vintage advertising, store displays, and package design. The resulting works call to mind Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, Stuart Davis, Andy Warhol, and Jean-Michel Basquiat and the regional arts of the American South. “I paint what I see,” the artist has said. “My practice of applying layer upon layer and the subsequent masking and tearing away of those layers to reveal many previous layers is informed by the abandoned billboards peeling layers, revealing bits of images that came before, scraps of its history visible all at once.”
American, b. 1971