~TAYLOR McKIMENS . . heads West

“well, you know – I am from the South West.” – TAYLOR McKIMENS.

Taylor will be leaving in a month or so, for a 3 month residency in Greece, and then he is re-locating to L.A.
I’ve know Taylor since about 2002, when I first started working as an event photographer at artnet. that’s about 14 years now. that’s a long time, by any count. I knew him when he was just pretty much arrived, and working as a studio assistant for DONALD BAECHLER. KENNY SCHACHTER was the first person to seriously promote his work, and include it in his early NYC group shows.
I watched him grow, through some twists and turns for sure, but ultimately: bloom.
and . . finally in the past few years, achieve considerable success.
not a small thing, in this hard-nut-to-crack . . town.

Taylor told me a nice story about this ‘soft’ sculpture by MISAKi KAWAI, behind him in the Johnson Trading Gallery space, in Tribeca.

he told me it was actually part of a much bigger piece . . that Kenny had exhibited and almost sold to IGGY POP !!

but when the deal fell through, storage became a problem, tell us about it !!
and Misaki had no option but to dismantle the piece into smaller parts. the logistics headaches & turnabout of a contemporary NYC artist. but it still looks great – just like this.

recently TAYLOR has been doing a lot of sketches from life, and posts them to his Instagram page .. @taylormckimens.
he also gathers them up, well really photo images of them . . into – DIY books.

TAYLOR used to be really into carton-inspired ‘vignettes’, like western bar scenes & lonely psycho all night diners !! but now he seems to be really into . . heads. portraits. from life, as opposed to the fevered imagination.
though obviously, the imagination is not out for long, esp when it come to color.

check out his official website: mckimens.com

this book, of sketches from Sept 2014, often feels like a ‘flip book’.
this page is particular harkens back to his earlier work. you know, the down & out scrubby western character hanging out at the desert gas station, an old pick-up truck, and some scratchy, weedy cactus – nearby.

the ‘hot’ colors also speak to Taylor’s early desert roots.

those are Tomoo’s buttons on the side. they have been friends for quite a while now, too. Taylor included Tomoo – in an early show he curated in Chelsea, called ‘Stranger Town’ – it’s still spoken about.

I most certainly was at that opening, it was back in Jan of 2005. it was an incredible incredible night, very high energy. Taylor turned the whole scene onto a lot of new work. the opening photos are no longer online – a casualty of switching to a new online format to accommodate mobile devices, & the new internet routing formats.
lol. maybe I should make a small DIY book – of those pix ????

Taylor . . we will miss you.
I’m just now realizing what a gentle vibe Taylor has always had. always very straightforward, but very tender. ambitious, hungry to get his voice heard, & recognized – but always . . down-to-earth. he always marveled at the visual richness of New York, growing up as he did in a small town in the deep south west. he seems to have unleashed all his inner demons, dreams, and nightmares . . in his work.
and now he’s the riding the wave – back to the west.
packing up and heading . . west. it will be interesting to see what kind of western trail, what new opportunities, and people he will intersect with.
I feel like he’s a smoke signal – already. I’m sure I’m not the only one – who will be watching out for the new works, and shows.