Strand By Strand // Painting With Thread by Taylor Adams

TaylorAdams_VisualArtist_Blog

I've become very used to the puzzled look I am met with when I tell someone I create abstract paintings with thread. I get it - it's unusual and a hard thing to visualize if you've never seen my work, so I usually have a photo ready to help explain my process. 

The question that follows is... "How in the world did you think of that?"

I took an experimental painting course during the senior year of my BFA program at the University Florida. This class turned out to become a huge turning point in the development of my work for it was in this course that I began experimenting with thread as a medium.

My professor, Ron Janowich, gave us thought-provoking prompts that pushed us to explore the boundaries of painting and step outside the norms of our process. When given an assignment to create a painting without using any paint, my interest was truly sparked.

My mother is a talented seamstress. My grandmother taught her how to sew, and she taught me. Growing up I would sit on the floor with her scrap bin, experimenting with needle and thread. Mixing and matching, I would play with how I could piece different materials together while the hum of a sewing machine clicked away in the background. When I got older, I started learning on one of her machines, making mini quilts and pillows. Though I never learned how to sew to the level that she can, my mother gave me a pair of hands that will always feel the need to create.

TaylorAdams_VisualArtist_Blog

 My mother's endless supply of thread immediately came to my mind as the perfect resource to utilize for project with no paint. I decided to create a series of line paintings using nothing but this simple yet strong material. I attached a strand of thread to the back of a raw canvas board with piece of tape and began wrapping. Circling my arm around the canvas, I wrapped - laying a straight line one by one.

I created three of these paintings. The process was measured and meticulous, but somehow felt natural and fluent. My spools spun along the ground as I wrapped around and around. The fiber felt familiar sliding through my hands. I had a connection to the material. I was hooked.

Canvas board does not have a frame, so as my threads accumulated they began pulling the board tighter and tighter, warping the surface just slightly. The threads hovered over the canvas and the sliver of space between peaked my interest - What could lie beneath these threads? Is there more to this that I can explore? I grabbed a photoscan of an ink painting laying in my studio and slid it in the space between the threads and canvas. The two worlds blended together. A contrast of geometric and organic form. A balance of controlled and natural movement. A structure of form upon formlessness. I was fascinated.

TaylorAdams_VisualArtist_Blog

Over the past few years, I have pushed to further develop this process and explore its possibilities. I now create upon cradled birch panels. The wood provides both a surface to explore with wet media and a structure for the threads to wrap around. This piece is one of my most recent works. From my new series, "Coast and Cove", each piece is an exploration of bodies of water and the landscapes that surround them. 

Isaqueena Thread, Ink & Acrylic 8 x 8 in, Available for sale

Isaqueena
Thread, Ink & Acrylic
8 x 8 in, Available for sale

For me, working with thread is a connection to a material that roots back three generations. Pulling from fibers of the past and constructing them with my present, my paintings are a mapping of movement, color and form, translating the world around me and how I experience it.

My new series "Coast and Cove" will be released to my website on October 24th.

Creative Neighborhood feat. Jonathan Rypkema by Taylor Adams

I love getting the opportunity to stop by my friends' studios and see what they're up to. In a world where I am constantly inspired by the creatives that surround me, I want to take the time to celebrate them and show you the great things they're doing.

Jonathan Rypkema is a visual artist living and working in Charleston, South Carolina. Blending the worlds of drawing and sculpture, Jonathan creates architectural pieces that invite the viewer to engage at all angles. It's easy to get lost in these pieces - bold pattern and line work emphasize geometric constructions or found objects, creating an experience rather than just a surface. Jonathan creates out of a feeling that many artists can relate to - the need to construct, to build, to make. The need to take the ideas in your head and use your hands to bring them to life. View the video below to take a look into Jonathan's studio and recent projects:

To view more of Jonathan's work visit jonathanrypkema.com and find him on instagram @jonathanrypkema to follow along with his current work and process. 

Fool's Paradise // Exploring With Sound by Taylor Adams

TaylorAdams_FoolsParadise_ArtistBlog

Recently I've been thinking a lot about the relationship between color and sound, and how music can affect the state of flow. That's why I was excited when I was asked to create the cover artwork for my talented friend Dante Frisiello's Debut EP, "Fool's Paradise."  Working with sound as the inspiration was an intriguing concept to me and one I was eager to explore. Dante had no preconceived notions of what he wanted the cover to look like, his only request was that I listen to the music and let that be the influence.

When I begin a painting I usually don't preplan or sketch. I try not to get too attached to any particular vision of what I want the piece to be because quite often it takes on a mind of its own - changing and evolving into something entirely new, often several times before it is complete. 

I played the tracks as I gessoed my panel, paying attention to the texture and rhythm of the sound. As I laid the first marks I followed where my hand led me, pulling colors I felt compelled to introduce to my surface and letting them find their place among swirling pools of media.  

After several layers of marks I masked the painting with a neutral tone in a manner that may have appeared I was going back to square one, covering up everything I had worked to build up. However, in masking what I have established on my panel I am able to explore the history of mark upon the surface. I build up layers and break them down. Then in building them up once again, I rediscover little gems of texture and movement and give them new life. 

The final stage of my process is measured and meticulous.  With the sides of my panel marked at even intervals to guide and ensure straight lines, I begin with a single thread wrapped tightly around my panel. One by one, thread by thread, I compose a structure of fibers upon my painting. Each line is informed by the previous one. They find their place naturally and rhythmically to bring a new layer of structure and meaning to the surface.

TaylorAdams_FoolsParadise_ArtistBlog
TaylorAdams_FoolsParadise_ArtistBlog
TaylorAdams_FoolsParadise_ArtistBlog.jpg

I was drawn to the rhythmic nature of Dante's music and felt the rise and fall of the melodies mirrored my process in a unique way. Building up, breaking down - a balance between organic and controlled movement. I truly admire the ability of musicians to compose a form of art purely with sound, and was honored to give a visual interpretation to what Dante has created. 

Dante Frisiello is a 24 year old law student. He has been playing and studying guitar for 10 years, and the "Fool's Paradise" EP is his debut release. Find the full album here and follow along with Dante's music on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook at @dantefrisiellomusic

West Coast Weekend // Scenes from San Diego by Taylor Adams

Sometimes I spend my entire weekend painting in the studio, and sometimes I venture out to travel, explore, and collect new sources of inspiration.. And on these occasions, sometimes I get lucky enough to score a $75 roundtrip to San Diego. 

California has been on my travel list for awhile now, and this trip was my first time ever visiting the West coast. I can say with certainty that it did not disappoint. The gorgeous coastlines and hilly cityscapes that compose San Diego were filled with a stunning array of colors that I couldn't get enough of. Brilliant blues, rocky neutrals, desert reds and golden oranges... an artist's dream.

It was a quick trip but we managed to squeeze in as much sight seeing as we could - stopping by La Jolla, Point Loma, Coronado and more. It left me feeling so excited to get back into my studio and bring a little California color to my palettes.

I can't wait to return and explore more of this beautiful state and its neighbors. Until then, here are a few of my favorite snaps from this West coast weekend..

TaylorAdams_SanDiego_ArtistBlog
TaylorAdams_SanDiego_ArtistBlog
TaylorAdams_SanDiego_ArtistBlog
TaylorAdams_SanDiego_ArtistBlog
TaylorAdams_ArtistBlog
TaylorAdams_ArtistBlog
TaylorAdams_SanDiego_ArtistBlog
TaylorAdams_ArtistBlog

Creative Neighborhood feat. Rebecca Hinson by Taylor Adams

During a recent visit to Charleston, South Carolina, I had the pleasure of dropping in to visit friend and fellow artist Rebecca Hinson in her studio. Rebecca is an oil painter and illustrator with an eye for bright palettes and a whimsical touch. From fashion to coral reefs, she pulls inspiration from everything she loves most.

Rebecca's studio is as bright and cheery as her personality, and it was lovely to see what she's been working on in person and catch up over her homemade kombucha (seriously the best). Take a peak inside Rebecca's studio and get a behind-the-scenes look at her new series currently in the works:

To see more of Rebecca's work visit rebeccahinson.com  and find her on instagram @rebeccahinson to follow along with her current work and daily inspirations. 

A Sanctuary of Ideas // Philadelphia's Magic Gardens by Taylor Adams

I recently visited Philadelphia for the first time and I was pleasantly surprised by how much inspiration I took away from the weekend. Simply walking through the streets I noticed a spectacular range of color - from lush greens and earthy brick tones to the dazzling mosaics and unexpected pieces of street art hidden around every corner, I was constantly stopping to snap a photo.  

Among this impressive range of color was of course Philadelphia's Magic Gardens. This visionary art environment created by Isaiah Zagar left me entirely fascinated.

On the vacant lots near his studio, Zagar spent years constructing multi-layer mosaic walls out of found objects. What began in the late 1960's as an attempt to beautiful the South Street neighborhood, these "gardens" grew into a space that not only helped revitalize the area then, but still actively inspire and encourage community engagement. 

TaylorAdams_ArtistBlog
TaylorAdams_ArtistBlog
I prefer work that appears to come out of a changing focus.
— Isaiah Zagar
TaylorAdams_ArtistBlog

From bicycle wheels, glass bottles, china plates, kitchen tiles, and fragments of mirrors... Everywhere you look there's something new to see, and something new to discover that you may not have noticed at first glance. Walking among these walls, you get the sense that they're truly telling a story. Conversations in color and form, every surface right down to the floor is a mapping process of Zagar's thoughts, ideas, and experiences. Through letters strung together tile by tile, anecdotes and personal narratives refer to fragments of Zagar's life. And all of the sudden you feel as if you may be walking through the grottos and stairwells of his mind.

TaylorAdams_ArtistBlog
TaylorAdams_ArtistBlog
I built this sanctuary to be inhabited by my ideas and my fantasties.
— Isaiah Zagar
TaylorAdams_ArtistBlog

This intricate display of visual information creates an impressive space that allows you to be completely immersed within an artwork. It truly speaks to the accessibility of art, for something as ordinary as a bicycle tire can be transformed with a new perspective. I'm happy to know that places like this exist - I think it's important for people to be shown that art doesn't always have to be a painting on a wall. It can be a feeling, a place, an experience. 

TaylorAdams_ArtistBlog

Creative Neighborhood Feat. Zakriya Rabani by Taylor Adams

In a world where I am constantly inspired by the creatives that surround me, both physically and virtually, I want to take the time to celebrate them and show you the great things they're doing. Creative Neighborhood is a video series exploring the studios, process, and inspirations behind artistic figures and their creative paths. 

In April I caught up with Zakriya Rabani, a friend and former classmate from our BFA years at the University of Florida. Upon walking into Zak's studio, I was greeted by dozens of skateboard decks strewn across the floor, stacked in piles, and suspended from giant rubber bands stretching from all corners of the room. Donated by the Skate Park of Tampa, these boards, considered defective and lifeless by many, are now playing a key part in the installation Zak is developing for his MFA thesis show at the University of South Florida. Growing up with skateboarding, Zak translates his experiences as a skater, athlete, and student through his work and invites his viewers into immersive environments that encourage play and speculation. View the video below to get an inside look into Zak's studio:

You can view more of Zak's work here and find him on instagram @flow_zak to follow along with his explorations and process. 

Color Collecting // A Study of Visual Interest by Taylor Adams

TaylorAdams_CollectingColor_ArtistBlog

As frustrating as they can be, creative blocks are part of the process. My ideas have been flowing smoothly from one project to the next for awhile now, so I was taken aback when I suddenly hit a wall. The strange thing was, while I felt like I had plenty of inspiration surrounding me, nothing was translating to my surfaces in the way that I wanted. Overwhelmed with an influx of color, texture, and movement, I needed to take a step back. I needed to reevaluate the 'whats' and 'whys' behind my current work, and as difficult as it is for me to realize at times, my mind can’t be working at full speed 100% of the time. It’s both natural and necessary to allow time to rest and refuel. 

Coincidently, around this time I was heading to New York City for a weekend wedding -  the first trip I’d taken in awhile without art supplies in tow. Oddly enough, the city that never sleeps, in all of its hustle and movement, gave me some clarity. 

TaylorAdams_CollectingColor_ArtistBlog
TaylorAdams_CollectingColor_ArtistBlog
TaylorAdams_CollectingColor_ArtistBlog

Walking around the city, I snapped pictures of things that caught my eye. Catching bits of color and compositions in a quick moment while en route to catch the subway or a bite to eat. The thing about taking pictures is you’re essentially documenting your visual interest. Whether realizing it or not, something in that scene speaks to you in a way that won’t allow you to pass it by without taking it with you. 

TaylorAdams_CollectingColor_ArtistBlog
TaylorAdams_CollectingColor_ArtistBlog

As I looked back through my photos, I noticed a theme that carried throughout them. And as I unpacked my suitcase I saw it again, this time in the clothes that I had selected to bring.  Rich darks, grainy earth tones, leafy greens, soft neutrals, and pops of highlight were showing me the color palette I’d been looking for. 

TaylorAdams_ColorCollecting_ArtistBlog
TaylorAdams_CollectingColor_ArtistBlog

I went on a screenshot spree pulling pictures from my Pinterest boards and scrolling through the recent photos I’ve liked on Instagram… the palette was there too.

Printed and scattered around my studio, these photos will serve as visual references and reminders of what I aim to capture in this new collection of paintings. Sometimes ideas can present themselves in the everyday, but they’re not always yelling to demand attention. You have to remember take a step back and listen to the whispers. 

TaylorAdams_ColorCollecting_ArtistBlog
TaylorAdams_CollectingColor_ArtistBlog