Taylor Pannell is an artist, designer, storyteller, and baker. She is the author of several collections including My Bible, Notes to Self, and The Traveller. Paired with her own vivid art, her writing captivates the imagination, revives your sense of wonder, and dares to ask out loud the questions on everybody's mind.
Philosophically, how differently is your approach to visual art from your poetry?
When I'm drawing for myself, it's actually quite similar; I think of an image or memory, then abstract it with symbolism. But if I am drawing for a specific prompt, or want a certain story to come across, I have to approach my visual art with the goal of clarity, and finding fun loopholes where people still can understand my image. When writing poetry, I rarely aim specifically to be understood. It's more emotionally than intellectually driven.
Will you ever interpret the New Testament through your writings and drawings?
Yes, in fact it was a project that I originally planned to finish last summer, but things got in the way. I'll return to it after I finish a project I'm undertaking currently.
What would be the most memorable meal to you?
If I could have attended The Last Supper probably.
What is your favorite Joanna Newsom song?
Either Emily or Cosmia. Once I had Emily stuck in my head for a week or so, though it is a very complex and long song.
You write, do design work, apparel, drawings. Is there any medium you would like to work with but have yet to?
Right now I'm really in love with music, and have been playing ukulele for a year now; I'm trying to write a little assortment of songs to record. But, I am also trying to focus on my current media, as I am desiring a more specific profession.
How did you develop your drawing style? Has it changed since you started?
When I was younger, I read and reread this book on drawing and the author had a very quirky, simple style, and I think that influenced me a lot. While at RISD I definitely loosened up a bit. I've also realized I've become increasingly interested in pattern, which I've always been attracted to, but doing textile work definitely encouraged that. Also, my interest in graphic symbolism has increased, since doing more design work.
How do you begin a poem? With an idea, image, or rhythm?
I'd say idea and image most often. Typically, it stems from an emotion associated with a visual memory, and then includes any sort of imagery / sensations that were there or I feel resemble that emotion. Sometimes, it's more so words that I find myself repeating, like in a rhythm.
As an artist, how do you determine which medium you would like to work in for a particular piece? How does this choice help execute your ideas for the piece?
With probably too much testing. I enjoy trying out different media until I find one that I think suits it best, and sometimes along the way the idea adjusts or becomes more developed, but often I have my plan solidified beforehand.
Outside of art and poetry, how do you fuel your imagination?
I read fiction; lately I'm in love with Murakami and J.D. Salinger. I obsess over music: Mitski and Car Seat Headrest are constantly on my playlists right now. Or I go on walks around my neighborhood.
Is there anything else you'd like readers to know?
Exploring your interests is fun and necessary, but it is not wrong to decide upon a specific profession. You don't have to be a Da Vinci; I think this is an idea that can be harbored at art school, and that I've come to realize is an unhelpful misconception.
Find Taylor's work here and follow her on Instagram.
Check out her Atomic Flyswatter Online poems.
Stop by her blog.
Photo Credit: Taylor Pannell