Featured artist

John Taylor

MA (RCA)

I have worked in a variety of artistic methods - painting, drawing, film, television and performance. The thing I admire most in art is honesty.

“Only draw what you can see”, my old tutor Sam Walsh used to say. The artist sits in front of his subject and studies it with a critical eye. When we study the paintings of the ‘old masters’ we can see how diligently they must have looked at their subject and recorded it in an honest and objective manner. It is not just a matter of recording graphically the shape and form dimensions of the subject depicted (which is, of course important); it is also a matter of understanding the physical structure (anatomic etc.) of the object depicted and and finding a way to represent it with the medium of choice.

With any art work, we are dealing with parameters - and with works of art, we have two main areas. First is the palpable reality, the stuff that we choose to depict ‘out there’. The choices we make are cultural and ideological. The second is the means and method of depiction - ie artist’s materials, methods of application, colour, spatial considerations, artistic styles, art movements, freehand or exactly measured, etc. We take all these elements like a model of a molecular structure, and create our art work, using the disparate elements. The way we use these elements should be as an honest attempt to show the world what we see. Fidelity is all! Beauty is the result, not the objective.

Cannes 1980

In 1980 I got my first job as an assistant film editor. This was as a result of my appearance in a film called The Alternative Miss World Contest in which I sang with Hermine Demoriane. I got the job as a result of going into the cutting room to see my contribution and asking for a job. It was a big 35mm production, and when it was finished it was entered for the Cannes Film Festival.

Performance

Before going to Art School I had performed in amateur dramatics - so when I got to Goldsmiths and discovered there was something called Performance Art I decided that I could indulge my interest. I was most interested in Music Hall theatre, but also in a broad range of musical styles.

I worked with a fellow student, Bob, as a twosome. We had a very wide programme of acts which included, pop, opera, monologues, and whistling. We performed as an art work and as a public performance.

I performed this variety, with Bob, as part of my diploma show. After a time Bob went his own way and I decided to ‘go solo’. It was clear that the whistling was the most popular part of my act. I heard about a group of performers called ‘Cast’ and somehow I managed to get in on the circuit. They included some famous stand-up comics – Paul Merton, Arthur Smith and Julian Clary. Then television appearances followed. I still continue to perform as Whistling John Taylor.


John is a founder member of the Fellowship and over the years has regularly attended the Life Sessions in The Shed. Some of us have enjoyed ‘Whistling John Taylor’ at parties in The Shed. The cats Izzie and Pebbles were also very interested.


Lying figure

Pencil
1970


Kettering Parish Church

Pastel
1993


Martin Simmonds

Pencil
1998


Teatime

Pastel
2007


Face

Pencil
1970


Albert Docks, Liverpool

Pencil
1970


Onion

Pencil
1971


Ariadne waits for Thesius

Acrylic
2012


Pytchley Footpath

Oil Pastel
1965


Showgirl

Pastel
2009


Tanya & Dave

Acrylic
2008


Standing Figure

Pencil
1971


   
   

 

 

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