We caught up with Los Angeles-based artist Ken Taylor at the close of his latest exhibition Mountains and Roses, the inaugural exhibition of Artworld ‘disruptor’ Stefan Simchowitz new space in Los Angeles.
Ken can you tell us a bit about your art practice
My practice is embedded in making. I approach making with movements. If a flag can reveal the wind, I like to think a painting can reveal the soul. I strive to discover a physical rhythm that can be unique to every painting. The formal aspects such as; color, light, and shape are things I focus on to create a definitive space within each work. Within these structures, I explore and allow everyday instances to impact the work. Some days can be more exciting than others and I like to emphasize this. As a practice, it doesn’t take much for me to get started, since, it’s just practice right?
You recently had an exhibition at Simchowitz gallery – how did that go? and how was it working with Stefan Simchowitz?
Yes, the show was titled “Mountains and Roses”. The show sold out! Working with Stefan is exciting and efficient, I’m happy to be here. He’s been the biggest supporter of my work for the past two years and I’ve seen my practice grow tremendously. By creating an environment that grants me time and access to materials Stefan’s vision for supporting artists is unique and specific. It’s been great to work with someone who is invested in the long term. I think there is a bigger picture to his approach that people tend to misunderstand. I look forward to growing alongside his gallery.
We see a bit of Philip Guston in your paintings – can you tell us which artists have influenced or inspired you
My mother and father have always been my biggest inspiration as artists and they wouldn’t even consider themselves artists. Both of them being immigrants from Mexico, I have witnessed their ingenuity on various ventures. One of our first family businesses was a produce van where we sold oranges in swap meets throughout the central valley of California. Having produce in a van without tinted windows was exposing the fruit to unnecessary sun and heat. My mom asked us to get the windows tinted. Trying to save cost my step dad bought a can of black spray paint for $2 and spray painted all the back windows in a green 15 passenger 1976 dodge van. I remember scratching out a happy face to the window where I sat so I could see out during our drives. Little experiences like that have always been the main source of inspiration for me.
How has lockdown been for you? How has it affected your work/life?
Are we still talking about Lockdown! I feel extremely grateful that my life wasn’t put through a blender. I’ve been able to maintain an equal amount of solitude as before to make work. It’s impacted my friends and family and I’ve learned to be more helpful. As artists, the idea of lockdown is not foreign.
What have you been reading, watching & listening to recently?
reading The Four Agreements: A practical guide to personal freedom by Don Miguel Ruiz, watching a movie called Youth by Paolo Sorrentino and listening to Pooh Shiesty
What’s next – you coming to Europe or the UK any time soon?
I’m actually in the Swiss Alps answering these questions! I’d love to visit the UK but unfortunately this summer I have plans to be on the coast of Oaxaca, Mexico.
Lover or fighter?
I wear my heart on my sleeve