From being shortlisted for a local writing prize to getting exhibited at this year’s Arts by the Sea festival, there’s no slowing down artist and writer David G Taylor…
After living most of his life in London, David G Taylor moved to Bournemouth a few years ago. The writer and artist felt so inspired in the town that he decided to stay and channel his feelings into his art. Using magical realism and some dark humour, David normally uses some difficult past experiences in life to create his stories, in a prism of fantasy. The writer affirms that there is so much he would like to do, such as exhibit more of his artworks and write comedy and horror scripts. However, he is not really sure what his end goal might be as yet, he is certainly enjoying the journey.
WHERE ARE YOU FROM ORIGINALLY? HAVE YOU ALWAYS BEEN BASED IN BOURNEMOUTH?
I lived in London most of my adult life but I’m originally from the Wirral in Merseyside. Life in London spiralled out of control, so I came to a rehab in Bournemouth in the winter of 2018. And after completing my treatment, I decided to stay here.
HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE YOUR STYLE AS A WRITER AND ARTIST?
In my poems, short stories, scripts, and novels, my style is magical realism. They’re also usually humorous in some dark or slightly subversive way. I often weave my own life experiences into my stories but usually, it’s seen through a prism of fantasy. For instance, I’m currently drafting a story about a rehab facility that’s run by child-eating witches.
My artwork sometimes features textile-like abstract patterns and colours that reference artists such as Alexander Calder and Joan Miro. I’ve developed a language of ambiguous shapes and marks that could be read as purely decorative, but on closer inspection suggests otherwise. As a collagist, I’m influenced by the Dada and Pop Art movements. There’s also definitely a Punk aesthetic. I’m obsessed with lurid Day-Glo colours, and I’m trying not just to appropriate photographs, but often to annihilate them.
WHEN DID YOU FIRST START AND WHY?
I have always done writing in some form. Art, however, was something I’d neglected for decades. I only really picked it up again six years ago after a bad breakup. Then, when lockdown began, again, I channelled my feelings into my art. I showed some of it to the founder of Boscombe’s Vita Nova, an arts charity for people in recovery, and she asked me to create some work for them to use as promotional postcards. I ended up creating a set of six monster-themed designs, some of which also featured in a Vita Nova’s crowdfunding campaign.
WHO OR WHAT INSPIRED YOUR LOVE OF WHAT YOU DO?
The monster postcards are inspired by Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. During lockdown, Frankenstein was one of the plays that Vita Nova’s drama group performed during online workshops. And, of course, its author is buried at St. Peter’s Church. My starting point was stills from the classic Hollywood films Frankenstein and The Bride of Frankenstein. The Frankenstein monsters seemed the perfect motif to represent ‘the monster’ of addiction. The creatures’ reanimation is symbolic of how alcoholics and addicts can be brought back to life through a 12-step recovery programme.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE YOU TO PLAN YOUR WORK? HOW MUCH TIME DO YOU INVEST?
I create most days, and whether writing or making art, I see it as an adventure. So I usually don’t plan too much. Exploring a theme or idea is like setting off on a journey and I enjoy whatever happens along the way. I’ve learned that there are no mistakes to be made, only things that weren’t exactly planned. Often, it’s the so-called ‘mistakes’ that prompt the most interesting ideas and send the work off in an exciting new direction.
HAVE YOU EXHIBITED YOUR WORK AT ANY FESTIVALS OR SIMILAR EVENTS?
Yes, I’ve just exhibited on Sandbanks Beach as part of this September’s Art by the Sea Festival. I was in a group show called ‘Process’, which examined personal experiences from lockdown. Each artist involved created their own individual piece on a white pillowcase. My artwork examined my lonely lockdown beach walks, and featured a poem I wrote, together with collaged images of mermen plucked from my fantasies, surrounded by divisive newspaper headlines, and drawings of strange microorganisms and sea creatures.
A fantastic new Bournemouth-based arts organisation called CoCreate organised the exhibition. The feedback was extremely positive. It proved a challenge for me to transfer my aesthetic to fabric, as I typically work with paper, card, pen and an inkjet printer. But I really enjoyed the challenge. So much so that I joined a new textile art project called Quilty Pleasures. We’re creating individual panels about the pandemic that will eventually be exhibited as one big quilt.
WHO ARE YOUR INSPIRATIONAL FIGURES?
I love the unsettling humour of writer and illustrator Edward Gorey, the brilliant storytelling of Stephen King, and the risqué wit of playwright Joe Orton. Orton and his lover defaced London library books with lewd collages in the 1960s and ended up in jail. So for one art project, I defaced a whole box of ex-library books with darkly humorous references to his life, work and brutal death at the hands of his own partner.
WOULD YOU CALL THIS YOUR HOBBY OR YOUR PROFESSION? DO YOU STUDY OR WORK IN SOMETHING ELSE?
I’d love creating to become my profession. My professional background is as an editor and journalist, so I’ve always written; only now I’m writing fiction rather than magazine features. As a journalist, I wrote pieces on luxury resorts, superyachts, best-selling author James Patterson, celebrity entrepreneurs, and even shark diving. I was Editor of the official monthly guide to London during the 2012 Games, authored two LGBT travel books, and had my work in publications ranging from Dazed magazine to the Evening Standard newspaper.
I interviewed celebrities and countless designers, photographers and artists. However, after completing rehab, I decided I didn’t want to write about other-people’s creative output, anymore. I wanted to give voice to my own. Now, I’m doing just that and studying for a Masters at Bournemouth University. Just recently, I made the shortlist of the 2020 international Fresher Writing Prize with one of my short stories.
DO YOU HAVE ANY UPCOMING PROJECTS?
Vita Nova asked me to be the curator of a brand-new art gallery space they’ll be launching next year at their HQ. I’ve also been asked to create a wall mural for an artsy new café-bar opening in Boscombe! Plus, I’m about to start selling art prints and T-shirts online.
WHAT IS YOUR DREAM OR END GOAL?
I would love to exhibit more of my artworks, publish novels and short stories, and write comedy and horror scripts. I’m a big fan of The League of Gentlemen comedy series and I always thought it would be amazing to collaborate. Or be part of a collective riffing on great ideas. There’s so much I’d like to do. As yet, I’m not really sure what my end goal might be. But I’m certainly enjoying the journey.
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