Austyn Taylor

What is really going on with human beings and this planet? This is a question we all think about from time to time. Deep thoughts about human history, culture and our place in the universe are quickly overshadowed by more pressing everyday issues of life. Much of our American time is occupied with short term animal concerns; for basic needs like full battery, Wi-Fi and “likes”- what else is there? Of course, this is a very one dimensional view of modern life. In my figurative work I attempt both 2 and 3 dimensional feats of creation! Being raised within the symbolic system of American Saturday morning and weekly afternoon cartoons I always wondered what happens to these characters after the show? What sort of purgatory are they trapped in between scenes? I assumed their must be more to these flat characters.
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Austyn  Taylor

Austyn Taylor

Austyn Taylor Biography

Taylor hails from Rochester, NY. Born of Southern artist parents, raised Unitarian, in a Jewish neighborhood. Brief time as an art instructor in Denver, CO taught her valuable lessons about the ancient spiritual qualities of working with ceramic materials and their quasi-mystical ability to tame the most anxiety riddled souls of hyped 13 year olds. After studying with master ceramicists, Doug Jeck, Christina West, Russell Wrankle and Arthur Gonzalez she obtained her MFA in Ceramics from Alfred University in 2016. Since then she has been traveling, teaching, making and showing work across the world attending residencies in Sonoma, CA, Beijing, China, Minneapolis, MN, Skælskør, Denmark, Wichita Falls, TX and soon Vadodara, India. Taylor’s quest through her artwork is to piece together an authentic “American-style” narrative which may heroically disrupt modern alienation and through her sculptural “healing” ceramics- create sign posts ushering people back home, to Earth.

Austyn Taylor Description

What is really going on with human beings and this planet? This is a question we all think about from time to time. Deep thoughts about human history, culture and our place in the universe are quickly overshadowed by more pressing everyday issues of life. Much of our American time is occupied with short term animal concerns; for basic needs like full battery, Wi-Fi and “likes”- what else is there? Of course, this is a very one dimensional view of modern life.

In my figurative work I attempt both 2 and 3 dimensional feats of creation! Being raised within the symbolic system of American Saturday morning and weekly afternoon cartoons I always wondered what happens to these characters after the show? What sort of purgatory are they trapped in between scenes? I assumed their must be more to these flat characters. I studied the philosophy of consciousness at university as well as art history and mythology. I studied the ancient absurd demons within Hieronymus Bosch’s 14th century paintings and the reality breaking freak show of “Who Framed Roger Rabbit.” In searching for what cannot be known, I now see my figures through an animist framework, as functional totems for lost thoughts and spirits of human intuition.

I sculpt and draw characters. Drawing from a variety of sources including American hand drawn animation, animist artifacts, graffiti and the internet. I sculpt a character in clay then either glaze it, leave it raw or draw on the surface with pencil. I aim to make ‘respectable’ sculpture in that I pay special attention to volume, form, proportion and selective draftsmanship. I also aim for sophisticated humor, honesty and objective self-knowledge within the work.

Hand drawn animation, initiation ritual masks and artifacts of animist cultures all influence my work. The pieces are sculpted intuitively in clay then resolved with some combination of glaze, raw bisque and/or drawing on the surface with mechanical pencil. The palette is kept simple.

I spent hours copying Disney and Warner Brothers characters off of paused VCR tapes as a youth. I always wanted to be an animator and character designer. When I came of age it was the end of 2D animation in America. Born too late, I never stopped making characters. I got a master’s in art education, moved to Denver, CO, became a middle school art teacher and began to sculpt in clay.

Since then I received a ceramics MFA from Alfred University, traveled the world with my work and devoted myself to studying mythology, evolutionary psychology and philosophy of consciousness. I have found that the deeper I go searching for the ‘truth of being’ the more humorous and complicated life becomes. Each piece is an attempt to articulate “almost knowing something”, a kind of feeling that is experienced as an overwhelming absurdity that is both enormously serious yet humorous. Reacting to the work people often tell me they want to give the sculpture a ‘hug’ or they don’t feel comfortable looking at it.  When my work is working best it causes both reactions. For practicality, most of life can be easily sorted into categories; in my work I am most interested in the fuzzy greys, the unsorted in-betweens of definitions.

Austyn Taylor Resumé

Education

2014-16 Alfred University, Ceramics MFA, Alfred, NY

2014    Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, Deer Island, ME

2013    Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, Deer Island, ME

2013    Penland School of Art and Craft, Penland, NC

2013    Archie Bray Foundation, Helena, MT

2012    Anderson Ranch Arts Center, Snow Mass, CO

2011-14 Art Students League of Denver, Denver, CO

2006    Penland School of Art and Craft, Penland, NC

2005    Nazareth College, Visual and Performing Arts Center, Pittsford, NY

2002-07 Rochester Institute of Technology, College of Imaging Arts and Science, BFA, Illustration/Minor Philosophy, 2006     MST, Art Education, 2007, Rochester, NY

Professional Experience

2019    *upcoming*Resident Artist, Niharika Art Foundation, Vadodara, India

2017-18 *upcoming*Resident Artist, Guldagergaard International Ceramic Research Center, Skælskør, Denmark

Long Term Substitute Art Teacher, Shakopee Junior High, Shakopee, MN

Responsibilities include implementing general art curriculum, including ceramics, printmaking, sculpture and digital media.

Resident Artist/Instructor, Northern Clay Center, Minneapolis, MN

Responsibilities include conducting workshops, social media and maintaining a professional studio practice.

2017    Guest Lecturer and Resident Artist, China Central Academy of Fine Arts(CAFA), Beijing, China

Responsibilities include lecturing, participation in student critiques and maintaining a professional studio practice.

Guest Lecturer and Demonstrating Artist, Beijing International Bilingual Academy, Beijing, China

Guest Lecturer and Demonstrating Artist, San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco, CA

Guest Lecturer and Demonstrating Artist, Association of Clay and Glass Artists of California, Sonoma, CA

2016    Resident Artist/Instructor, Sonoma Community Center, Sonoma, CA

Responsibilities include maintaining a professional studio practice, conducting several large and small workshops for adults and children, maintaining ceramic facilities including loading/unloading, firing electric and gas kilns, mixing glazes, pugging clay and monitoring public studio.

Liberal Arts Ceramics Instructor of Record, Alfred University, Alfred, NY

Responsibilities include curriculum design and instruction for non-major liberal arts ceramic students. Classes include lectures on ceramic art history, handbuilding techniques, wheel throwing techniques, glazing, and firing work in electric and gas kilns.

2015    Liberal Arts Drawing Instructor of Record, Alfred University, Alfred, NY

Responsibilities include curriculum design and instruction for non-major liberal arts drawing students. Activities included lectures on art history and theory, pencil and charcoal techniques, life drawing instruction, gesture drawing, positive/negative space conceptualization, contour drawing, perspective drawing and portraiture.

Sculpture Teaching Assistant, Alfred University Summer School, Alfred, NY

Responsibilities include assisting in construction problem solving, materials preparation, loading and firing kilns.

Sophomore Hand Building Teaching Assistant, Alfred University, Alfred, NY

Responsibilities include assisting in curriculum design and instruction for sophomore ceramic majors. Activities included lectures on ceramic art history and art theory, large scale handbuilding techniques, glaze formulation and glazing techniques, and detailed instruction on the firing process in electric and gas kilns.

2014    2-D Foundations Teaching Assistant, Alfred University, Alfred, NY

Responsibilities include assisting in foundation curriculum design and instruction for freshman art majors. Activities included lectures on art history and art theory, large scale painting, printing and collage techniques, experimental conceptualization projects and stop motion animation.

Technical Assistant (Arthur Gonzalez), Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, Deer Island, ME

Responsibilities include materials preparation, assisting students and loading and firing kilns.

2013    Technical Assistant (Doug Jeck), Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, Deer Island, ME

Responsibilities include materials preparation and assisting students.

2008-11 Art Instructor, Pinnacle Charter School, Federal Heights, CO  Responsibilities include curriculum design and instruction for 5th-8th grade charter school students. Activities included lectures on art history and art theory, a variety of 2D and 3D art techniques including: paper mache, ceramics, painting, drawing, collage, printing and performance.

2007-08 Substitute Art Teacher, The Harley School, Rochester, NY

Responsibilities include implementing art curriculum.

2006-07 Graduate Assistant, Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY  Art Teaching Assistant, Rush-Henrietta High School, Rush, NY

Art Teaching Assistant, Churchville-Chili High School, Chili, NY

2006-08 Design Department Technical Assistant, Rochester Children's Theatre,

Memorial Art Gallery, Rochester, NY

Responsibilities include graphic design using Adobe suite, set design and

conducting children’s summer workshops.

Exhibitions:

2019    *upcoming* Emerging Artists Show, Northern Clay Center, Minneapolis, MN

2018    *upcoming* The Great Ceramics Revival, Art Spirit Gallery,Coeur d'Alene, ID

*upcoming* 22nd San Angelo National Ceramic Competition, San Angelo  Museum of Fine Arts, San Angelo, TX

*upcoming*Teapots! Invitational, Morgan Glass Gallery, Pittsburgh, PA

Northern Clay Center Resident Show, NCECA, Pittsburgh, PA

Beyond the Brickyard, Archie Bray Foundation for Ceramic Arts, Helena, MT (Director’s Choice Award)

Fantastic Beasts, All You Need Now Gallery, Shanghai, China

2017    American Craft Council Show, Grain Belt Brew House, Minneapolis, MN

SOFA expo, Booth #1303 Bender Gallery, Chicago, IL

Zanesville Prize for Contemporary Ceramics, Seilers Gallery, Zanesville, OH

Requiem for Mickey, China Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing, China

Dawn, UFO Gallery, Oakland, CA

2016    Solstice, Healdsburg Center for the Arts, Healdsburg, CA

Humata, Sonoma Community Center, Sonoma, CA

Augmented, Healdsburg Center for the Arts, Healdsburg, CA

Aftercare, Thesis Exhibition, Fosdick-Nelson Gallery, Alfred, NY

2015    Southern Tier Biennial, Jamestown Community College, Olean, NY

(Emerging Talent Award and Honorable Mention)

Variance, The WURKS, Providence, RI

2014    On Edge, Edge Gallery, Denver, CO

2013    Spark Mark, Spark Gallery, Denver, CO

Exquisite Corpse, Groundswell Gallery, Denver, CO

2012    Emerging Artist Invitational Exhibition, Colacino and Arts Center Galleries, Nazareth College, Pittsford, NY 

2010    The Figure, Allison Art Gallery, Shulman Arts Center, Tusculum College,             Greeneville, TN

2009    6X6, Rochester Contemporary Art Center Gallery, Rochester, New York

Scion Art Education Auction, Th’Ink Tank Tattoo, Denver, CO

2006    Drake Memorial Library, State University of New York, Brockport, NY

Honors Exhibition, Bevier Gallery, RIT, Rochester, NY

Austyn Taylor, Thesis Exhibition, School of Art, Gallery R, RIT, Rochester, NY

2005    Honors Exhibition, Bevier Gallery, RIT, Rochester, NY

Exalting the Mundane, Gallery R, RIT/ CIAS, Rochester, NY

Metamorphic, Lucky Lotus Studio, Rochester, NY

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