San Francisco-based artist Kevin Earl Taylor grew up interacting with all sorts of animals. "Most days of the week," he told us, I’d go fishing with my grandparents out on a lake. I’d look at the seagulls and wonder about the dead fish floating upside down in the water. I loved the rare sight of a snake crossing the road. I tried to catch birds, raccoons, turtles, and insects with homemade traps my uncle and I would make. I remember being careful not to harm my prisoners and would let them go right away, though occasionally, I kept a few as pets. I have so many memories of running around with dirty hands, actually taking part in nature. I was a wild child in a more literal way and it must have had an effect on me.
I can't remember my reasoning at the time, but when I was in high school, I became a pescetarian—a choice I haven't strayed from in twenty-nine years. I probably would have gone completely vegetarian, but I think I felt OK eating fish since I had caught and prepared so many to be eaten with my own hands. Once I started making art, I think I just drew from subjects that I'd had the most experience with. My early work had plenty of animals, but there were humans, text and inorganic objects all the same. That stuff was based much more on free association and improvisation. I called them "abstract narratives.” As my work developed, I simplified things more and more, and moved further away from stylization. Using realism and human-less imagery became a way to provide solitude to the viewer, invoke mystery and present beauty, all of which remain important aspects of my approach."
Read more about Kevin Earl Taylor in Juxtapoz Wild.
Favorite Juxtapoz artists fill the pages of Juxtapoz Wild with portrayals of beasts great and small. No spotted elephants or pink balloon poodles. Banish any thoughts of grapes and dead game on a platter. These paintings evoke the full range of Mother Earth’s creatures as they both murmur and roar amongst the foggy haze and moss-covered reaches of her landscapes. 28 artists including Sage Vaughn, Josh Keyes, Laura Ball, Martin Wittfooth, and Cathie Bleck give shape, vibrant color, and shades of meaning to the most humble or humbling creatures. Wild is a book to enjoy and study as it depicts the furry and feathered beauty made ever more fragile in our changing world.
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