Taylor Anton White
Lives and works in Richmond, Virginia
Feature image by Abstract Mag
Improvisation is key to the way Taylor Anton White (I’m calling him “T.A.W”) works. But his paintings are less Jazz and more year 8 drama class. I mean that in the coolest way possible.
I might have discovered him on Instagram. As did more than 45 000 other followers. This guy is basically celebrity. It’s said that he has emerged as an artist through social media and many times I’ve wondered how platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest change the way we make art. Long gone are the days of trekking to the library to pour over stacks of books, mostly printed at least ten years earlier. I mean there was lots nice about charging up your photocopy card and glue-sticking the carefully cut out rectangles into your much-leafed through journal. Now all one needs to do is scroll, device in hand, through countless curated images of creativity, freshly minted, just created, still wet. That has got to change things. T.A.W said in conversation with Brian Alfred on his Sound and Vision Podcast that the perfectly flat and clean images of paintings on Instagram challenge him to make really tactile work, and it’s easy to see why he’s optimistic about the role social media plays in his practice.
He’s also relatively new to painting, starting art school at the age of 35 and there’s a real freshness in the way that he goes about everything, like someone told him ok now go and make art, and he’s been wound up and let go. It’s obvious, or a completely elaborate hoax, that he just loves making art, and I think that’s what his work is about. The pure joy of making something. There’s a fluency in the way that he puts things together, hauling and wrangling materials to comply with an almost meandering process. Unfettered and free but rigorous and ultimately, or seemingly, unified in approach, it looks as though his paintings make themselves. That’s the great thing about T.A.W’s paintings: they’re all mess, casual humor, weird 90s nostalgia and probably accidental but they just look damn hot. So hard to argue with that.
Also, another random thought, what on earth do we mean by painterly? Some say it has something to do with brushes but there isn’t much brush work on T.A.W’s paintings, and if the painting descriptions are accurate, precious little paint. Is it to do with the picture plane and canvas hung on walls? Or is it a painterly approach one takes, something about composition or attitude? All I can say is that his work definitely contributes a brave and energizing spirit to the field of painting and his practice is one I will continue to like and follow.