Dorm Decor #1 – Artist Spotlight: Johnny Taylor | ArtThatFits Blog

So, we’re ready for that time of year again… Time to get those college dorm rooms & apartments ready to be inhabited by those fun, young & vibrant college students, ready to attack another academic year! And what better way to get them motivated to start school again but with a little fun in making their surroundings as wonderful and personalized as possible?!?

I’m excited to share the first installment of this year’s 2010 Artaissance “Dorm Decor” series, all about sharing products perfect for those small college spaces, decorated on a budget, tips on how to make the most of those cinder block dorm walls, fluorescent lights and industrial floors. This piece is a “Dorm Decor Artist Spotlight” – a feature on one of our acclaimed Artaissance artists whose work just may be the inspiration behind your child’s college dorm/apartment decor. With that said, I’d like to introduce you to artist Johnny Taylor:

Johnny Taylor started drawing as soon as he was old enough to hold a pencil and quickly exhausted the big three subjects all artistic little boys are required to depict: spaceships, monsters and racecars. A true child of the 70s, he soon moved on to the art/music/film troika of Mad Magazine, KISS and Star Wars while still in grade school. By age 10, he was producing a weekly comic strip for the local paper and had found his calling.

In 1993, Johnny made a New Year’s Resolution to paint three small paintings a day, every day, for the entire year. By immersing himself in the daily practice of painting he began to look at the world around him differently – more observant and conscious of visual details.

Johnny started college intending to pursue studio art but instead was drawn to the Art History classes that met across from the art studios at the University of Memphis. Jasper Johns, Stuart Davis, Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat inspired Johhny. He was also influenced by the regional art of his native American South, especially by Southern folk artists’ use of text as both a thematic and decorative element. The Quilts of Gee’s Bend are a good example. He also draws inspiration from graffiti art, specifically the stylized, single gesture marks of graffiti “tagging.”

“I paint what I see. A painting’s composition may derive from an underpass’ blocky, irregular patchwork of painted-over graffiti. Another piece’s umber and vermillion color scheme may be inspired by a business sign I’ve seen on a street that I travel regularly. My practice of applying layer upon layer and the subsequent masking and tearing away of those layers to reveal many previous layers is informed by the abandoned billboards peeling layers revealing bits of images that came before, scraps of its history visible all at once.”

Though everything is game, imagery-wise, he is drawn to advertising images and glyphs, the visual shorthand of contemporary culture. In a sense, his paintings are post-modern landscapes.

Here are a couple of my favorite art works by Johnny Taylor – perfect for college student spaces, or at least for those fun youngsters inside of all of us icon_smile-6094896




“Circles 2“


Aren’t all these fun images just perfect for college living?!? The colors add some excitement, while the subjects are a bit whimsical & the texture even…sophisticated! So lovely – what I wouldn’t have given to have these on display in my own dorm room, ha! What would your dream college wall decor have been? Something funky & crazy or super elegant & luxurious?!?! Please share icon_smile-6094896

And keep an eye out for our future “Dorm Decor” posts to inspire more decorating for the college students in your own life…


Arlynn (59)

Filed under: Uncategorized on August 9th, 2010