Studio Visit: Taylor McKimens

mckimens in front of big pride

Taylor McKimens is one of my favorite artists, ever since finding his comic book “The Drips,” his work has been on my radar.  So, using my new blogging gig here at Beautiful/Decay as a good reason to see his studio – I went over to Taylor’s studio at Deitch Projects in New York.  I had to ask the perfunctory question about what was happening with Deitch Projects, and he said things depended on several variables – and didn’t go into any details.  His work in progress completely blew me out of the water, and I walked around with my mouth open like a tween at a Jonas Brothers concert.

mckimens big horn

Turns out we both grew up in working class families and had spent time working in factories, Taylor listed a bunch of his artist friends who also worked in factories including Misaki Kawai who dressed in a sterile full body outfit while making sandwiches on a conveyor belt.

mckimens big horn detail

I said something like “You must really be into R. Crumb,” and Taylor responded saying that was a common misconception, and went on to give a super thoughtful response about why he was not that into R. Crumb.  Taylor explained that he and Crumb both use the language of comics to make images, and that Crumb did something new and made his comics about ordinary people up to a point, but that Crumb’s comics still had the over-the-top kind of drama that are in most other comics.  Taylor said “I’m into anti-drama.”

mckimens in his studio

mckimens girl2

mckimens girl

mckimens paints3

mckimens studio

I asked about the patches and decals on the characters in the paintings, and Taylor said it added to the people in the paintings – that he was interested in adding complexity.  He wants the characters to defy stereotypes like most people in life defy stereotyping.  “There’s people that like some of this, and people that like some of that, and they’re just people,” he said in a laid back voice.

mckimens sloppy joe with bird spacious

mckimens sloppy joe close up

mckimens donald bachelor2

This painting is for Donald Baechler, it is meant to have the same silhouette as one of Baechler’s paintings.

mckimens skull decal on donald bachelor

There was a table filled with drawings…

mckimens drawing5

mckimens drawing4

mckimens drawing3

mckimens drawing2

mckimens drawing

mckimens studio2

This painting is so beautiful, I could look at it all day.

mckimens face

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  • great studio visit bill

  • Amir

    The tricky thing is how do you keep Anti-Drama interesting. i think Taylor has figured it out.

  • That’s true…I did like his response as far as R. Crumb. I think I’d go to that reference right away as well, but when you look they are kind of every day people, but painted in a far from every day fashion.

  • I’m glad I took notes, because I was a little starstruck.

  • fantastic post. ive loved taylors work for a really long time, but getting the impression that someone is a nice person really makes it so much better.
    this will be hard to top, bill

  • I know, I don’t see how either – but stay tuned, I have some biggies in the works.

  • Taylor was really cool to me too, Drew – you’re right in saying that he is a nice person.

  • wow, i’ve never seen this guy’s work before. it’s so great! thanks for posting this!

  • Sure thing Jesse!

  • Al

    awesome, awesome, awesome! Taylor’s the best!

  • good

    I think that the anti-drama that Taylor is referring to is meant that he is not putting your classic slip and fall, having a figure being thrown upside down, or not resorting to that kind of vaudevillian entertainment that tends to be the norm in much of comic book based imagery. I don’t know if one could ask “how does one keep anti-drama interesting?” since I don’t agree that his images are devoid of drama, they are just devoid of many of the stereotypes used to make comics seem dramatic.

    But all analysis asides the pictures are really, really great! He’s so good that he could use those stereotypes and make them good, he just has the sensibility to make things look really cool!