EK Interview: Peter Taylor

Peter Taylor‘s intricate designs looking painstakingly handcrafted.  I wish I had the patience and dedication that he must have to carry out his pieces.  Hailing from Canada, Peter Taylor’s work is the kind of art that I would be happy to have cover my body.  Read his interview:

Who are you and where are you from?

My name is peter taylor, I am from Quadra Island, Canada.  For the past  ten years I called Vancouver home but have recently I’ve returned to my old stomping grounds on the island. I am a maker of things, with a focus on visual art in the form of pencil drawings and cut paper pieces.

art blog - Peter Taylor - Empty Kingdom

How long have you wanted to be an artist?

There is a quote by Pablo Picasso in which he says that everyone is born an artist and that the trouble is remaining an artist into adulthood.


Of all the media you have experimented with, pencil drawings, painting, mixed media, sculpture, which is you favourite and why?

The pencil and paper have long been my favorite. I really like the immediacy of the medium, how you can bring an idea into a tangible form so quickly.  At the same time how you can spend hours with your head down in a drawing working subtle shades and details. the variety you can pull out of a pencil is amazing too, from hard, dark, crisp markings to the softest almost imperceptible gradients. there is something about how simple and common a pencil is too that i really like. the classic forms of art, painting and sculpture, can seem quite daunting and almost unfathomable to most people i think, but most can use a pencil without thinking twice. i like the idea of taking something ordinary and elevating it, pushing its boundaries.

i’ve also been enjoying working with cut paper over the past few years. working with paper this way seems like a puzzle sometimes, i like the challenge of figuring out how i am going to make a piece work in this way. the colour in the cut paper pieces bring a whole new element too that i don’t have to think of in my pencil drawings, which can be quite fun.

art blog - Peter Taylor - Empty Kingdom

What was the idea behind “can’t bug me”?

can’t bug me was the title of a blog post featuring a drawing i made. the drawing was almost done and sitting on my work table. i left it there for a couple of hours and when i returned to finish it off i saw that a bug of some sort had left its little bug crap on it. it had stained the paper and couldn’t be removed. and it was in a very prominent space of the drawing. so i cut out that section and laid the drawing with the cut out over some other papers to fill in the area that had been cut away. it worked out quite well and i actually like it better this way than had i finished it the way i intended originally for it. there is always learning in the mistakes but its nice when you can learn and transform the mistake into something that works well.

art blog - Peter Taylor - Empty Kingdom

What is the inspiration for the filling within your characters?

there was no particular inspiration for the pattern that i use. it came about from a doodle basically and evolved into what it is now. i like to imagine it constantly moving and changing. if i could illustrate the circles and shapes growing and contracting, morphing, spinning, and moving i would. i like to think of them as the make up of the figures, their building blocks.  sometimes i imagine the pattern to be a representation of what the figures are made of on a cellular or molecular level. as if the shapes in the pattern had been magnified thousands of times to see them as they appear. other times i imagine them to be the cosmos. as if the figures contained, and were made up of, galaxies upon galaxies all turning in their different orbits. i sometimes refer to the pattern as the cosmic cogs. the two different ways of thinking of it can really change the feel of the piece to me. the figures could be so grand that we could be just a tiny part of them, or they could be so small that they could be within us. or both?


Can you walk us through “dancers”?  Where did the idea come from, what was your method of creating the piece itself, how did you know when you were done?

this is actually one of the rare times that my piece is directly based off of an existing work. dancers is inspired by the painting the dance by henri matisse. i would still like to do another larger version that features the full circle of linked dancers. the method for creating the piece was the same steps i take with all my drawings which is some loose sketching and then a tighter drawing. then on the paper i will use for the piece i draw very lightly the lines for the figure, changing them until i get it how i want. then drawing all the lines in followed by the drawing of the pattern. and finally adding the shadows to complete the piece. this is the format i follow for most of my drawings so i know when it is finished. with other pieces, for instance with my cut paper work, it is harder to tell when the piece is finished because you can always add more  but this is not the case with the drawings.

art blog - Peter Taylor - Empty Kingdom

What is your favorite piece and why?

some pieces i am more fond of than others but i don’t think i’ve had a favourite. i like to let them go and move on. i take something from each one that i feel is successful and try it again in a new way.


What are some of the influences for your art, be they human or otherwise?  How does your art reflect yourself as a person?  How has being an artist changed you?

i really believe that everything you see goes into you and affects you on a subconscious level to some degree or another. there is so much amazing art out there, so many amazing things. and so many awful things too. it all goes into the art a little bit. a lot of what this work is about to me is finding balance. i would say the main influence of my art is a balanced life. the drawings themselves are a part of my balance. the production of them can be almost meditative for me, therapeutic, calming. they give to my balance and i give to theirs, its cyclical.

i don’t think that the artwork is a direct representation or reflection of myself but it is a reflection of a part of me. often they can represent ideals and act as reminders to me of what to focus on, what is important to me.

art to me is about intent and choice. the intent is the initial idea and how you imagine it. the choice is choosing which of the infinite paths you will follow to bring the idea into being. at every step of the process there are always many choices of which way you can take things, so you need to keep in mind your initial intent, or modify your idea along the way. i feel like this concept carries over into daily life as well. where do you want to go? what do you want to do?how will you get there? the choices you make, whether big or small, all help to define your personal style. so to ask how has being an artist changed me? i would say dramatically, the art i make is integral to the art of living my life.

art blog - Peter Taylor - Empty Kingdom

If you had to be a different color what color would you be?  You could still get tattoos and you could still dye your hair.

the color of a perfect circle, the hue of a divine line.

art blog - Peter Taylor - Empty Kingdom