with a Surrealist: Artist Maggie Taylor
Surprising Beauty and Emotional
I just read an engaging article by Amy Standen
in The Big
Picture print magazine
titled "Going for a Twilight Swim: A step-by-step peek
into artist Maggie Taylor's strange universe" (March 2006).
The article focused on the 'capture and output'
of Maggie Taylor's art, and did much to make me ponder over
the age-old debate: "What is art?"
Taylor is a digital artist (surrealist) from Gainsville,
Florida, who combines photography, illustration, and scans
of real items into digital compositions and, ultimately,
into works of art she prints into limited editions and sells
to the public. The article's introduction mentions that "In
artist Maggie Taylor's strange, parallel universe, birds
ride bicycles, ideas materialize in the shape of clouds,
and wings sprout from the backs of prim Victorian women."
If like me, you're familiar with surrealistic art, the strangeness
of birds riding bicycles isn't too big a surprise. What
intrigued me more was learning about Maggie's creative process
while watching the surreal piece "Twilight Swim" being
constructed piece-by-piece as I turned the pages in the magazine
article. Seeing source material (photographs, postcards, and
scans of real seaweed) being manipulated before my very eyes
into something that
didn't exist before, renewed my respect for every artist
who creates in harmony with their inner intuition and instinct.
"Starting with objects that she finds on eBay,
in flea markets, and in her own surroundings, Taylor then
uses her flatbed scanner, Adobe Photoshop, and other technologies
to produce images of surprising beauty and emotional impact."
"Surprising beauty and emotional impact." I wonder
if the answer to "what is art?" is found simply
in answers such as this one — instead of in debates over how
a piece was created or what kind of training an artist has.
Don't we ultimately have control over what beauty we personally
see (or not) in a work of art? Isn't it all
how important is it that the artist thoroughly understand
and feel the beauty and emotional impact — the meaning — their
own work holds for them before all others? Can
an artist truly find value in their own work before someone
else comes along and says "Good job!" Furthermore, what value
does a piece of art symbolize to its creator, even if it's
never released into the world?
Interesting questions indeed. •