Artist Spotlight: Olivia Taylor

Olivia Taylor, senior at UConn’s School of Fine Arts, is a few weeks from graduating – but senioritis clearly hasn’t hit her too hard, because she’s been busy with her Senior Project! Her artwork stood out to me due to her unique use of typography and her art’s interaction with nature – something that resonates with the artist, writer, and human that we all are. I had the wonderful opportunity to ask her a few questions about her artistic process.

Get Lost 3

Olivia describes her artistic style as “ever changing”. Of her time in the art program, she says: “My work aesthetic has completely evolved, as have I. As I learn new ways to create, my style and sensibility changes with those new techniques.”

I asked about her current project and the challenges it has presented to her. Her project is a part of her Senior Project and is exhibited in Artspace in Willimantic, along with other seniors in the BFA Senior Show. (Her project, and many others, will be up for exhibit and shown until May 4th.)

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Taylor’s Exhibit in Artspace

 

The project, “Get Lost”, is described as “a nature campaign to push people to get outside and enjoy what is around them”.

She describes the challenges in creating “Get Lost” as twofold: “not only in the actual creation process but in the process of choosing the correct vehicle and message to effectively relay my message.” Since the project is a campaign, she had to “learn a lot about people, and how to reach them in a positive non abrasive way, which is much more difficult than you may think.” Olivia started UConn as an Anthropology major, and through her art, she can explore her interest in “what makes humans work” as well as express her creativity. When asked why she creates, she says simply, “There is no other means by which I can thoroughly enjoy my work, and successfully express myself, so why would I do anything else?

Dive In
“I also had to learn how to successfully interact with the world around me. When trying to create typography out of the natural elements, while immersing them in other aspects of nature, you have to learn to be flexible. When you are submersing type made out of rocks into a fast flowing 25 degree river and you lose a couple of letters to the current, you can’t get frustrated and give up.. You just learn to come to the river with multiple letters, and lot of hand warmers.”

 

Olivia’s inspiration comes from everywhere – for instance, she credits an idea for her project from “something [her] mom said over the phone . . . when talking about something completely un-related.” She also mentioned the clever display and the “eye-popping use of typography” of design studio Sagmeister & Walsh. And after taking a look at her blog, it is clear that there are so many, many other  influences to her work!

How does Olivia go about her projects? She says: “It starts with research, of the project and anything that has to do with the project. After research I usually sketch out my ideas that have come from the research, laying them out to see which one will be most effective. Once I figure out which idea I’m going with, I usually just go ahead and start on it, researching more as I go along for artists that have done similar things or have looked at similar topics, but otherwise I just dig in and start working. The best way to figure out if your idea is going to work, is to actually do it. And if it doesn’t, you just have to start the process over again. My professors have always told my fellow students and I to just do. Good work will come with multiple iterations, so might as well just make as much as possible and see what comes out of it.”

Since Olivia is a senior, she is going to have to say goodbye to UConn in a few short weeks. Of what she enjoyed most about UConn, she says going to football games and playing intramural sports her friends. She will miss “the amazing people I have met through the design program, both my friends and my professors and the community that we have built.”

But as with all things in life, with every change there are also new opportunities. Olivia said, “Once I graduate, I want to find a graphic studio that I can work with, hopefully one that has a lot of the same ideas and values about design that I do, where I can continue to explore, play, and experiment with different kinds of design. My goal is to find a place where I belong, but I’m pretty sure that’s everyones first goal right?” (Right!) And the future is clearly bright for a creative mind like Olivia’s! Best of luck to her, and to everyone else in the Class of 2017.

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