Meet the Artist
Interview with Kim Taggart
- Written by Melissa Davies Melissa Davies
Kim Taggart blew us away with the work she created on our 500 Series paper depicting the beautiful and picturesque Kansas landscape. After seeing her work, we just had to take the opportunity to speak to her and gain an insight into her artistic style, inspirations and plans for the future.
First of all I’ve got to say that your work is incredible. How did you first get into art? Was it something you fell in love with at an early age or later on in life?
Thank you, I appreciate it. My kindergarten teacher was the first to notice I had artistic ability. My parents just thought all kids drew like me. I skipped over the stick figure stage and dove right into flesh contours on my people. Art was always my favourite subject in school and I started private art lessons at age 9 with training in charcoal, pastel, watercolour, pen & ink and oil paint. A professor at a college in Olathe, Kansas took me in— Dr. James Dobson Sr.
Definitely, the drawing medium: graphite sticks, Conté crayon and charcoal. I started out before computers made it possible to digitize art or add color and manipulate on screen. Through the years, clients asked for my commercial art in a digital format and I soon yielded to the computer for graphics but I always started my illustrations on board and paper. After many years of the computer, I yearned for the “art” of art, returning to an old love of drawing. This is where I began my tagline, ART, UNPROCESSED.
You completed a Bachelor of Fine Art degree at Kansas State University. Could you tell us a bit about what this involved and how it has influenced your work?
My curriculum introduced me to art forms and influences I didn’t learn in my primary/secondary education. I was introduced to the Flint Hills of Kansas attending K-State University. The surreal hills inspired me and never left my mind. I created my first Flint Hill landscape in 1985 but didn’t pursue a series until January 2017. That’s a long time for a theme to burn in my mind. It’s best to not let me drive through this part of the country because my gawking could be dangerous while driving.
What artists would you say have influenced you the most and why?
I love Charles Sheeler’s Pennsylvania rural lithographs and drawings. I discovered him in college while taking art history classes. Probably his “Interior with Stove” impacted me the most. Emulating his style and technique forged some of my own. But I also melt when I see Edward Hopper’s charcoals, and John Steuart Curry’s Lithographs. I guess I’m drawn to black and white.
Looking at your gallery I can see two main bodies of work: The Great Plains and Structures series. Could you give us an insight into your inspirations for both of these series? Have you also got any plans to add to them in the near future?
Both series are “works in progress”. I just launched my fine art gallery in January 2017, completing 10 pieces in 4 months. I am currently working on another piece for Great Plains. But I have 2 more series already created in my mind, just not on paper yet. My mind works a little faster than my hands and I’m still balancing my “day job” with my “passion job”. Nature frames it’s own compositions and I just see them and want to capture how light produces white spaces and shadows form shapes – adding to the configuration.
You are also an award winning brand designer. What is your approach to developing a strong visual/brand design once you are commissioned by a client?
Listening to my client is first step. I’ve been trained by and worked with some nationally acclaimed branding companies in Kansas City. Learning what a company stands for and who their target audience is key to developing a unique brand that doesn’t follow a trend. I love to push the brand as far as I can – even developing details like coasters that send an on-brand message. It’s in the details.
What advice would you give someone wanting to pursue a career in art and/or brand design?
It’s not an easy field to pursue. Changes come rapidly and you have to be adaptable. Are you passionate about this career?
I would be a large 30 x 40 inch 500 series Bristol 4-ply sheet of glorious paper with a branding stamp on my… well, somewhere!
Finally, what does the future hold for you? Are there any exciting developments that you are able to share with us at all?
I am re-launching my fine art career. Right now I am on track to my goals this year. I hope to create another dozen pieces before yearend. I have been accepted into two National Juried Art Shows so far and received a Juror’s award at the Overland Park, Kansas exhibition – one of 13 awards out of 80 pieces. My drawing “Happy” was the recipient. My next step is to approach gallery owners where my style is a strong fit to their genre. And like any artist, selling my art is a goal. So we’ll see how the rest of the year treats me.