Artist Spotlight: Tayler Wood speaks in image

Janik Emmendorfer, Photographer

Name: Tayler Wood

Grade: Senior

Major: Fine Arts

Minor: English Writing

Tayler Wood discovered art at a very young age.

“I started drawing as soon as I was able to hold a pencil and actually make markings. I’ve always drawn something, whether it was something I saw or something I thought of. I think the first real thing that I drew was my cat at the time. He was a polydactyl and he had seven toes so I named him Mittens,” Wood said.

Today, Wood’s work has evolved from the abnormal toes of a cat to a discussion of social issues through an outlet she calls “flower language.”

“By flower language, I mean the symbols and metaphors associated with those flowers,” Wood said.

For example, Wood created a piece featuring an exposed woman surrounded by vibrant flowers and the remains of a dismembered raven. The flowers that surrounded the depicted woman-lupine, buttercups and forget-me-nots-hold a symbolic meaning, as “flower language” suggests.

“Lupine is a milkweed that is toxic to animals, but there’s a symbolism behind it meaning imagination,” Wood said. Buttercups are a symbol for childhood and forget-me-nots kind of speak for themselves. Ravens mean creativity, but also trickery in animism. The idea is that she was robbing something from the raven and is being exposed for that.

Wood is currently working on another piece that will showcase a young girl wearing sheepskin.

“The message is going to be about how we have shortened childhood, Wood said. Everything is so accessible….sex, drugs, technology. The magic of childhood and that innocence is being lessened. I think that can be a social issue, so I’m addressing that by having this young, delicate girl wearing a sheepskin and she’s going to be fading into this wallpaper that’s going to be the flowers.

When composing a new piece, Wood draws inspiration through several channels.

“I take a lot of inspiration from the concepts found in literature. Sometimes I take from my own personal experiences. Sometimes I’ll draw my inspiration from dreams I have and I’ll try to fit those dreams into a real-world situation. But I think the biggest well of inspiration for me is the fantasy of metaphor and symbolism.”

“For the most part, I want to challenge my audience and make them think about what I’m putting down,” Wood said.

Wood doesn’t just challenge her audience through artwork, but also herself.

“My greatest challenge is probably doubting myself. I doubt myself constantly and it’s because of a social programming that I underwent with my family. I always ask myself, ‘Is this going to look OK? Are people going to like it?’ But I know it doesn’t matter if other people like it. It’s about if I like it. At the same time, art is so much more complicated than ‘I like this’. It’s more about why you like it, what stimulated this, how does this relate?” Wood said.

Despite that challenge, Wood is determined to make her way in the art world.

“My family has not always appreciated my talent. It’s more like, ‘Do you really want to do this as your occupation?’ But the way I see it, I saw so many times growing up that my mom was upset about her job and I was a little kid soaking all this up. So, I decided I don’t want to do that. I don’t want to be that. I want to do something that I love even if it means that I’m not necessarily going to make bank.”

To explore some of Wood’s artwork, visit her art blog at passion001.tumblr.com.

Kyla Parkins 

Staff Writer

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