Taylor Lee's Bright, Open Studio
Profession: Abstract Painter | Location: Charlotte, North Carolina
Taylor Lee is a gifted artist, designer, and mental health advocate. Her work has been shown in exhibitions across the country. She is pursuing her MFA in Painting at The Savannah College of Art and Design this fall. While Taylor is primarily a painter, she has recently expanded the scope of her work to include textiles, collages, and other media. Taylor works to raise mental health awareness by being candid about her own journey with Bipolar Disorder and its role in her work.
What inspires your work?
My upbringing in rural North Carolina has been a major source of inspiration for my work. I love the flora and fauna of the region, and that has a great impact on my taste in colors and textures. I no longer live in a rural area, but I am still very drawn to that sense of freedom and wildness that I get from being surrounded by nature, and I try to express those feelings in my work.
What are your favorite mediums and tools to use?
I work with acrylics, and my favorite tools are the Princeton Catalyst polytip brushes; they are really durable and stiff, so they create really precise marks and allow me to "draw" with them. I also love using soft pastels for sketching directly onto the canvas before I paint.
What is one word you would use to describe your studio space?
I would describe my studio as extremely open. The studio, which I live and work out of, is in a historic gingham mill that was built in 1903 and was only recently converted into residential apartments. The windows are around 13 feet high with 16 foot ceilings, so the space feels massive and lets in a ton of sunlight.
What is your favorite thing about your studio space?
The huge windows are definitely my favorite part of my studio space. The natural light is perfect for painting. Anytime my husband and I consider moving, I think, "wait, but will there be windows like this?"
What are three items in your workspace that you can’t live without?
I couldn't live without my standing easel (it's a necessity for painting on big canvases), my favorite coffee mug from East Fork Pottery, or the bench I have by the window so I can sit and look outside when I'm taking a break.
What does a day in the life look like for you? What are your daily habits?
In the mornings I work on the computer doing things like responding to emails and research for ongoing projects, as well as reflect on my process in my notebook. I spend most of the afternoon painting so I can make the most of the daylight. After sundown, I might go back to working on the computer if I have an idea or task I can't pry myself away from. Throughout all of this, I'm drinking lots of coffee and Pelegrino and listening to music and podcasts. I really like to stay in this zone.
How do you practice self-care throughout the day?
I get really consumed in my work, so I have to make sure I stop to eat. I eat breakfast with husband every morning and always make sure I take a lunch break, even if it's just something I can heat up quickly. I drink lots of water to balance all the coffee, and I try to make time for a bath at night with soaps from Old Whaling Co. so I can unwind.
How do you store your artwork?
I'm lucky enough to have really large walls in my studio space, so I'm able to hang up all of my work. So far all of my work is on canvas, so I don't need any drawers yet. I have a few pieces leaning against the wall or rolled up if the canvas is unstretched, but I have been able to get away with not having an actual storage space.