Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Q & A with Photographer Nicola Taylor

In the second of our Q&A sessions with makers and artists from SAT2012, photographer and Open Houser Nicola Taylor shares some of her thoughts, images and a movie trailer with us!

Nicola will be exhibiting in the Wunderkammer during SAT2012

Tell us about the work you do and the types of materials you use.
I call myself a self portrait photographer but my images aren't really self portraits in the way most people think of them. I've always been in love with stories and storytelling and my "Tales from the Moors Country" images are my way of telling the stories that are in my head and of paying homage to the stories that have influenced me, particularly Yorkshire folklore. I use myself as a model simply because it has worked best for me so far. I do my best work alone with just my camera, tripod and remote control.

Where do you produce your work? Does your working environment form part of the inspiration for your art?
Absolutely. I shoot the majority of my images in the North Yorkshire Moors National Park. It's an area of wild, desolate beauty that has inspired so many stories so it's perfect for my work. I believe that we create stories to make sense of our relationship to the world around us and that a sense of place is often a central theme. I take inspiration from local stories, folklore and literature and the way in which they express both a celebration of the landscape and an unease about our fragile presence within it.
I consider it a gift that I live so close to such an inspiring place and that I'm fortunate enough to be able to spend my time exploring it and highlighting its beauty to people who don't know it as well.

Is your art your main job?
At the moment it is, although like all artists I sometimes need to do other work to be able to pay the bills and continue to invest in my art.

How did you get started?
I was a very unhappy stockbroker in the City of London for many years. I didn't believe that I had any artistic talent whatsoever because I'm not very skilled at drawing and painting and I think many of us believe that those skills are the only mark of an artist.

While traveling in Bali, I discovered that they have no word for artist because they believe everyone is an artist. Our art is just an extension of what makes us human,  so it's perfectly possible to make your life your art. That really changed my assumptions and I was at a point where I wanted a more creative life so I could allow myself to believe in the possibility of finding a medium for my creative expression.

I had been taking photographs semi seriously for a few years and when I left my job in the city I enrolled in a one year photography course at the London College of Communication. While there I would spend hours in the library in the illustration section and began to see that I could use the creative and imaginative potential of photography to create my own photo illustrations. It was that discovery that sent me on my way.

What work will you be exhibiting at the Saltaire Arts Trail?
I'll be exhibiting a selection of work from "Tales from the Moors Country" including large framed prints of my most popular images "Music for those who Listen" and "Like Ghosts from an Enchanter Fleeing"

Do you work in any other mediums besides the work you will be exhibiting at the Arts Trail?
Nope. As I said, I'm not skilled in most other artistic mediums. Photography is the one that allows me to express myself with the most satisfaction.

Where else can we see and buy your work?
You can see all of my work and a list of gallery stockists on my website http://www.nicolataylorphotographer.com

Tell us about your most exciting or memorable commission?
Because of the nature of my work, I don't often get the opportunity to do commissions but by far my most exciting project was participating in the Stoli Originals film 24:4, shot by BAFTA award winning filmmaker, Martin Smith. The film follows a day in the life of creativity in the UK, focusing on four people engaging in their creative pursuits.

The participants were selected through a competition and I was absolutely thrilled to be one of the winners. Martin and his crew came to film me shooting a new self portrait, Raven's Song, on the North Yorkshire Moors and it was so much fun to be able to share my creative process. The film will be premiered in a private event at the London Sundance Film Festival at the end of April and I can't wait to see it.

As an extra exciting bonus, the winners also got sent on an all expenses paid trip to Los Angeles which was absolutely amazing!

What was it about the Saltaire Arts Trail that made you want to apply to exhibit? 
Actually I didn't know Saltaire very well, but some friends recommended that I visit Salts Mill. I absolutely loved it and was really interested in the art scene here and the fact that it had been designated a World Heritage Site. While visiting I saw a leaflet advertising the Saltaire Festival and the Saltaire Arts Trail and decided that it was just the kind of event that I'd love to be involved in.

Have you participated or visited the Saltaire Arts Trail before? 
No, this is my first time.

What is unique about it and how does it differ from other events?
I think the fact that it's in such a hub of artistic expression makes it feel very special. I'm very much looking forward to seeing the Open Houses as thats not something I've seen before.

Could you leave us with one more interesting fact about yourself or your work? 
I’m a trained Vinyasa Flow yoga teacher and I drive a car named after Frank, the giant silver bunny in the movie Donnie Darko.

Contact details
Website: http://www.nicolataylorphotographer.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/nicolataylorphotographer
Twitter: @zennicphoto

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