Life – Direction – Purpose – Growth. It’s so hard to tell how these things will play out. Nick Taylor is a great example of this. He started out sketching as a child. Then turned to street art and graffiti as a teen. He was sent to boarding school because of his writing on the streets but eventually got himself into college. He recently earned his master’s degree in psychology and discovered abstract art in the process.
When and how did you get into art?
When I was eight my Grandfather noticed I was good at drawing, so he encouraged and influenced me to continue doing it. And when I was about thirteen I started doing graffiti and from that point on it was all about hitting the streets. Me and my brother Zach. Shout out to my brother Zach Taylor and D.E. (Destroy Everything)
So, you and your brother were doing Graffiti as young kids?
Well, I was involved with a different group growing up. I was a little hoodlum. I actually got sent away when I was fifteen to boarding school because I was tagging everywhere. They couldn’t stop me. So, their solution was to ship me off.
Did it work?
No… No…not at all. There were other writers at the school. So, it was like, they were putting us together. We had a crew in there – ‘Lock down writers’. They would take us into town and we’d hit it up.
So how did this transition into ‘Destroy Everything’?
I left that school after graduation. I was eighteen. I returned to California and started writing everywhere. It all just happened. We primarily tagged freight trains. At its height it was about thirty people from Sacramento and Chico California. My brother actually ended up in jail for it. But you can still see some of our tags out in the Citrus Heights Area.
After a post high school break you eventually returned to school. And I know you recently got your master’s degree in psychology. How did you get on that path?
I was always interested in eastern philosophy and that motivated me to study the western version in college. Although I had been creating art since childhood, I really got into fine art about halfway through my college experience. Getting into art again changed my life but since I was already enrolled in the program for psychology, I wanted to complete it.
You actually have multiple degrees. What are they?
I have four. I got two associates degrees; science and art. Then both my bachelors and master’s in psychology.
You’ve made the switch from street artist to abstract artist. What do you try to convey in your new work?
I’m a full-on abstract artist so it’s not like I’m painting to represent something specific. I’m just looking to create an image that speaks for itself.
So, I don’t feel like I’m trying to convey something, I just try to capture my life experience in it. I try to make work that is anxious, stressed and as powerfully emotional as possible. And when they’re done – I think they do say something.
Did it take you awhile to transition from street artist to painting?
Well, I did my first two paintings and posted them online and they went kind of viral with my group and they sold. So, after those first couple I set a goal to get into art shows and go as far as I could with that. To just evolve and push myself to see what I can accomplish.
Wow. You started selling right away. That’s not easy.
Yeah, I just pushed hard right away. My friend and local artist in Sacramento, John klaiber, hooked me up with my first show and it just kept rolling. For the first year or so I was doing a couple shows a month and sold a couple thousand dollars worth of art. Like I said, my first couple sold immediately. I’ve sent pieces to Florida, Georgia and Vegas. It’s been a good start.
That’s an unusual start. But it’s awesome. Do you feel that starting as a Graffiti artist affects how people view your work?
I think certain people are unaware of my recent success or demonize my work growing up because I was a graffiti artist. I understand it. But I don’t think they’re aware of my growth and where I’ve taken it. So, I’d like to get to a point where they know and see the change.
What’s your process for painting?
I start spontaneously. Then, as it develops I see the direction to take it. I find Images in it and reinforce them, over and over until it’s right. It’s like a fight; a war between me and the canvas.
The spacing and layout of your work is very symmetrical or mathematic. Is this intentional?
It happens unconsciously but it’s all part of it. It comes naturally and gives it balance. It’s part of the image I’m looking to create.
When I view your work, I see something subconscious peering out to the surface. That’s just what I think of.
I have a very full head and my work is a representation of the massive amount of thoughts I have. But also, how busy society is. I take inspiration from both.
When you think about your future as an artist do you have a direction in mind? Do you want an open studio? To be in galleries? To be famous?
Good question….. No. Honestly, I didn’t expect it to go this far. I mean, it’s in the early stages but I still didn’t see it going this far. I’ve already been selling, showing and painting live at events. I’ve been asked to go to New York and Italy. I sold a piece in China. How could I have seen this?
I guess the only direction I’m thinking about is to evolve – to make it better. To just keep pushing and growing. I know it’s something I’ll always continue to do.