Wednesday, August 4, 2010

ARTIST SPOTLIGHT -- Maggie Taylor -- by Florida Fine Art Blog

Maggie Taylor is a digital image artist and photographer working in Gainesville, Florida.  I first found Maggie’s work in a book on Adobe Master Photoshop techniques.  Her work impressed me and when I found out she was a Florida artist I had to find out more about her.  I went up last month to see a show by Maggie Taylor at the Brevard Art Museum in Melbourne, FL.  What I did not know and was pleasantly surprised to find out was that she was showing her work along side her husband and well-known art photographer Jerry Uelsman.  The show’s title was, “Just Suppose: The Other Worldly Images of Jerry Uelsman and Maggie Taylor.” Seeing Maggie's work along side Jerry's was especially satisfying.

Jerry's work is all done in the darkroom, using an enlarger to manipulate and combine his images.  Maggie's work is done using a flatbed scanner and Photoshop in place of a traditional camera.  Maggie works with vivid colors and Jerry is all black and white.  But both play with the inherent believability of photography and create unimagined worlds of infinite possibilities.   Maggie's images are staged in a way that is definitely surreal.  Using layer upon layer to make an old world photograph effect, the work looks like something created a hundred years ago.  The images are sometimes eerie and even disturbing but still familiar in a way.


Maggie Taylor received a BA in philosophy from Yale University and a MFA degree in photography from the University of Florida.  Maggie's images have been exhibited in one person exhibitions throughout the US and abroad and are included in numerous public and private collections including; The Art Museum, Princeton University, Princeton NJ, The Fog Art Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge MA, Harn Museum of Art, University of Gainsville FL, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston TX, The Museum of Photography, Seoul Korea.  In 1991 and 2001 she received State of Florida Individual Artist's Fellowship.  Along with her fine art Maggie has recently completed some beautiful illustrations for an addition of Alice in Wonderland.  

Maggie also has one of the best artist websites I have ever seen.  
Sometime after the show I was able to ask Maggie a few questions.

GL: Do you go to Museums, what was the last show you saw?

MT: I go mostly when I travel, although we also have a nice museum
here in Gainesville, The Harn.  Last show out of town I saw was the
art of Victorian Photocollage at the Metropolitan Museum in New York.
The catalog for the show is especially fabulous!

GL: Can you talk briefly about the process of creating one of your images?

MT: I usually start with either an old photograph or something I
bought recently at a flea market.  In either case, I scan it on my
flat-bed scanner and begin to retouch, erase, and enhance it.  I do
not know when I begin working what I will end up with.

GL: I have been using Photoshop for 14 years now and only use about
10% of the program.  I have heard that most people use 5% to 25%.  How
much of it do you use?

MT: I use a lot of the layering, blending and masking features....but
there are also tons of capabilities that I do not currently have a use
for.  I do not use many filters at all.  I do not use High Dynamic
Range.  I do scan in 48-bit mode, so I have 16-bit images to begin
working with.  I guess maybe I use 40% of Photoshop once in a while.
I use about 5% of it daily.

GL: What time of the day do you work?

MT: Usually from 9 or 10 AM until 5 or 6 PM is my best window.  Before
that I go running and after that I only do routine boring office kind
of answering interview questions!

GL: How many hours a week do you spend in the studio?

MT: Every week is different so that is hard to estimate.  Some weeks I
am traveling and get time only to shoot or do office work on my
laptop.  Some weeks I work every day for long hours.
GL: What music do you listen to when working?

MT: None.  I like quiet when I am sitting at the computer.  At times I
have the TV on in the room, but do not really pay much attention to

GL: Three things you couldn’t be without while your working?

MT: Photoshop, the Wacom pen tablet, my dogs sitting under the desk.

GL: What was your earliest artistic training?

MT: I took decoupage classes and other crafty things at the St. Pete
Mall on weekends when I was a pre-teen.  I do not really think that
was art, but it was fun.

GL: Who is your favorite living artist?

MT: Jerry Uelsmann.

GL: Any other artists in your family?

MT: Jerry Uelsmann.

GL: What are you working on next?

MT: I hope to make some sort of group of still-life images this
summer....but whenever I say I will do something that seems to make it
less likely to happen.

GL: Do you collect other artists, what’s your favorite piece?

MT: A large embroidered drawing of a white dog with five legs by San
Antonio artist Bettie Ward.  We collect a wide variety of
stuff....including everything from video art to folk art.

GL: If you could have one painting in the world, you could rip it
right off the wall of a museum and take it home with you, which
painting would you choose?

MT: It would definitely be a Magritte, but I don't know which one.
Maybe a tree in darkness....

GL: Advice for emerging artists?

MT: Work very hard in a regular way, even when you feel a little bit
uninspired....keep at it.

Maggie Taylor Website

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