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. Austyn Taylor received her MFA in 2016 from Alfred University in New York, USA. Currently she is the anonymous emerging artist resident at Northern Clay Center in Minneapolis, MN.
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.
2014-16 Alfred University, Ceramics MFA, Alfred, NY
2014 Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, (technical assistant) Deer Island, ME
2013 Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, (technical assistant) Deer Island, ME
2013 Penland School of Art and Craft, (work-study scholarship) 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
2017-18 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, Spring Semester, China Central Academy of Fine Arts(CAFA), Beijing, China
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, 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, 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 Teacher, 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 classroom management and implementing 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.
2005-06 Sign Design, A Good Sign Company, Rochester, NY, Responsibilities include vector based signage design using Adobe Illustrator and Sign Lab Pro.
2004-06 Studio Assistant, MET Studio, Ltd., Rochester, NY, Responsibilities include model making, graphic design using Adobe suite and photo restoration.
2018 Beyond the Brickyard, Archie Bray Foundation for Ceramic Arts, Helena, MT
2017 Zanesville Prize for Contemporary Ceramics, Steiner 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, Fosdick-Nelson Gallery, Alfred, NY
2015 Southern Tier Biennial, Jamestown Community College, Olean, NY (Emerging Talent Award)
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