By David Willard
One definition of community is “a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.” It is an essential part of the human condition. We all need to feel that belonging and attachment to others that makes us feel at home. Nowhere can this be more felt than in downtown Winston-Salem, and with the artists that fill its galleries and studios. Kelly Taylor recognizes just that and has made her home and her mark in the area.
Kelly Taylor has worked long and hard to hone her craft and is enjoying some of those benefits as part of the downtown area. “Being an artist in the downtown Winston-Salem arts district makes me feel like I belong somewhere. There’s a great feeling of community and support here. I love how the galleries, artists, and other businesses work together and support each other. And I love being a part of Delurk Gallery. It’s a great place to show my work and be a part of something with other like-minded people,” said Taylor.
Taylor, a graduate of Guilford College with a BFA, attributes much of her success and growth as an artist to Guilford. “I learned a ton and was inspired by (still am!) my professors at Guilford College: Adele Wayman and Roy Nydorf, both inspiring artists and amazing human beings! Some people say art school ruins artists, but I was fortunate to have learned from people who allowed me to develop my own style, my own voice, as they taught me the knowledge and technical skills I needed to accomplish that,” she continued.
Since graduating last year with her degree, Taylor has had an art piece at the Greenville Museum of Art, received a Regional Artist Project Grant from Arts Greensboro, and a solo show at Delurk Gallery in downtown Winston-Salem. She has recently started using installations with her works, as well. “Using vintage and antique furniture and objects combined with my paintings, I created several vignettes, moments of time, one may have imagined, or seen as a child in your grandparents’ house, which enhanced the viewer’s experience of my work,” she added.
When describing her art and style, it was obvious the effect her alma mater had on her painting. “For a few years, I worked solely in a self-taught practice of abstract expressionism. My abstract work allowed me to explore light and darkness, the mysterious, the magic, life and death, and the emotions that accompany those’” she noted.
“Although I drew a lot of years ago in high school, I wasn’t interested in making realistic work. Then I took a painting class at Guilford College. Through a required project, where we had to compose a still life set up from objects that were important or significant to us, I fell in love with still life painting. I found that you can also get lost in the act of painting, in the light and the shadows on the objects, in the expression, while making a realistic image, just like you can when making abstract work. I began approaching my still life works with an expressionist mindset, expressing emotion through the objects I painted. Now I work in both abstract and realism. I’m primarily a painter, but I also love drawing, printing, and etching,” she explained.
Kelly Taylor has used her personal drive and educational background to put her in a place where she feels she can grow and succeed: downtown Winston-Salem. It’s there she invites patrons to enjoy and even explore her work. “I’m not going to tell you what you should see or feel when you look at my work. I’m not going to expect a particular response. But I do love to see people’s reactions, how they vary, what feelings and nostalgia my work provoke for them. I love being able to connect with people through my work, or see their aversion to it, in some cases; it’s fun,” she concluded. Taylor’s work is now on display at Delurk Gallery, 6th and Vine, and her website, paintingpoppy.com. While strolling the area, take the time to escape in her work, Taylor won’t mind at all…guaranteed.