My dear friend Katie asked me some questions and wrote this lovely piece. She’s a gem —-
It Takes One To Draw One - Interview with Sydney artist Taylor Conacher
Freckles dot her pale complexion.
The young artist stares intently into
her mug, as though she was a seer
and it were full of tealeaves. Silver
rings sit loosely on her fingers and
she has a collection of beaded string
bracelets tied around both wrists.
Her lips are painted crimson. She
tucks a strand of light ginger hair
behind her ear and I catch her
lavender scent. Sitting opposite, it
is difficult not to notice similarities
between Taylor Conacher and the
waiflike subjects of her most recent
“I think females feature a lot because
I can relate to them, they are shy girls with self conscious mannerisms usually hiding their eyes.”
Taylor keeps her gaze downward as she speaks of “her girls”. They are brought to life in A Field Guide to Getting Lost as delicate watercolour and pencil sketches. In the two larger pieces of the series, their naked shoulders morph into charcoal mountains that appear to be suspended somewhere in a dream. The tips of the girls’ heads are incomplete as they become one with the white landscape.
This hybridity of humanity and nature is a favoured theme for Conacher, who grew up on the coastal beaches and bush land of Central New South Wales. In 2013 she completed a commissioned series for florist Octopus’s Garden that comprised Laith McGregor-like tree men. To accompany her characters Conacher dreams up childish tales of their creation that illustrate humanity’s codependency with nature.
“Nature is the most beautiful thing, I think it’s very pure and quite innocent. Like my girls- it’s vulnerable and you want to protect it.”
Six smaller landscape sketches accompany the two portraits. Conacher’s background in textiles and design emerges in the subtle embroidery hand sewn into the sides of the mountains, the zigzag lines reminiscent of Stanislava Pinchuk’s constellations. More abstract in form these pieces are reflective of the direction she hopes to move with her artwork.
A Field Guide to Getting Lost is the result of a month long trip through the West Coast of America. Conacher’s eyes alight when she speaks of the arid beauty of the Nevada desert and the breathtaking lookouts along the Big Sur coastline. An adventurous spark ignites her soft-spoken demeanor.
“When I was travelling I never had the time to sit down and draw, so, when I came back I was itching to get all these ideas down.”
I for one am itching to see what Conacher does next.
A Field Guide to Getting Lost is currently on display at Bow and Arrow Studio in Manly. The exhibition runs until the end of April.