ARTIST INTERVIEW: TAYLOR MCCLURE

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 Photo by  Holly Therrell. 

Photo by Holly Therrell. 

If you have been to Rubber Gloves in the last three years, you’ve probably seen the black and white mural that was designed by Denton transplant, Taylor McClure. He has also worked with local artist Mick Burson on other large scale pieces throughout town. Dude gets around. McClure has collaborated with Pan Ector, worked as an artist in a guild of creative-types in New York, and is currently splitting his time between the big apple and Denton. We pinned him down and bugged him with a few pesky questions about important things such as tacos and T-shirts. Read on for more...




WDDI: How long have you been an active artist?

 

McClure: Well, I've been actively drawing every day that I can remember. I definitely drafted more at 4 than I do now, because of adulthood and all. I really can't think of a period in life where drawing wasn't an important part of the day. As a "career" artist, I've been getting paid for work since I was still studying printmaking at UNT. Printmaking made my work accessible to everyone because I could make them from scratch, and sell them affordably. I could also trade work with other people, which is mutually beneficial. Printmaking is the the core of my professional career as an artist in one form or another. It informs all aspects of my work, even when there is nothing being printed. 


 

Wait a minute... we would recognize that face anywhere. You used to live in Denton & work for Pan Ector, right? Tell us about your affiliation with Pan Ector.

 

Haha there are actually lots of bearded white males that look like me. It's like spotting a wookiee or something. I lived in Denton for about 5 years while I was attending UNT. In the summer of 2009, we (later known as Pan Ector) acquired our first t-shirt press, and everything else required to print shirts and other textiles. So while learning the process of printmaking at the university, I was learning the business of printmaking at home. It was like I was double majoring or interning. We continued to collaborate as a business collective until I decided to relocate to Charlotte, North Carolina in 2012. Since moving away, I've continued to function as a satellite illustrator for them. 

What made you leave Denton?

I left Denton, or my home of North Texas rather, to jump into the deep end of the real world. I felt hungry for risk. I wanted to fully submerge into a situation where I had to step up and push myself to a higher level of being. I know this all sounds vague and quasi-spiritual, but it's what I really needed. I felt as though my options were to either take a risk or play it safe. I was all done with my schooling, and at a pivotal point where something had to shift, so I shifted to the East Coast to see what was up. I made it work for about 2 years, and met lots of special people that have helped to shape my world view for the better. I came back to Texas to reconnect with my framily and family as an improved version of myself. 

I left Denton, or my home of North Texas rather, to jump into the deep end of the real world.

We heard through the grapevine that you have a new gig that takes you to New York part time. What's the deal with that? 

That seed was planted back in 2009 when Drive By Press visited UNT as visiting artists. That is essentially what I'm doing now. Drive By Press is based out of Brooklyn, and has been touring the country for nearly 10 years, waving the banner for printmaking. I did a few initial gigs with them before moving away from Texas. Joseph Velasquez, cofounder of DBP, was living in Texas at the time, so I would help assist him when he needed me. Once I got to Charlotte, I was freelancing for myself for about a year before I got in touch with Greg Nanney, the other cofounder based in NYC. From that point on, I've been linking up with Greg to tour academia or work up in New York for event printing. My job description is rather multifaceted. 

What is your preferred medium?

Any and all ink. Don't mess with the press. Ink is the link. I'm only halfway joking. My preferred medium is collage, but not what you might have in mind. With printmaking, I have an excess of hand-printed material. I discovered this problem while still in school. That's when I realized that cutting all of these prints up and seasoning them with paint and additional printing was really really fun. Printmaking is such a calculated, nearly scientific process. To be able to throw all that out the window and create new compositions with scissors and knives is raw. I learn more about my work from taking it apart and reassembling it than any other process. I might pull a screen print and shrug at it, but that same print has the potential to be re-contextualized and given a much more interesting life beyond its birth from the press. 

 

What artists inspire you? 

Motivated people inspire me, I don't really care what their work looks like. Of course I have a list of contemporary artists that make work I admire, but at the end of the day, the people you surround yourself with are the ones that will inspire you to push forward. I'm not talking about competition, I'm talking about generating an energy and thriving off it. It's uncommon and precious. I experienced it at it's greatest while still in school and collaborating with Pan Ector, because I was constantly surrounded by people busting their asses. When you're in that kind of environment, you are naturally lifted to that level of energy, or it's not for you. If you stick around to put in the work, you will be repaid with inspiration and fulfillment. 

 

Street tacos or Banh Mi?

I'm sure it would be pretty simple to make a savory fusion of the two. I don't know how good it would taste, but most likely delicious. If I had to choose between the two, I would choose the street tacos, but only if they were arepas. (Editor's Note: arepas are delicious. Dude knows what's up. What about cachapas, though?)

If we wanted to purchase a piece of your artwork, what is the best route for that?

I should have set up an online store years ago. I've basically been selling most of my work directly to people I know, which is unfair for the online community. I plan to have a fully operational online store by October. As for now, if you're interested in any sort of work from my hands, feel free to drop me a line at mr.tarantuga@gmail.com and I'll get right back to you. Also visit my portfolio at tarantuga.carbonmade.com