While she may not yet be a household name for you or the crowds of people marching down Martin Street on First Friday, you probably already know Taylor White better than you realize. In fact, you’ve probably unknowingly walked or driven past one of her pieces without stopping to think about its origins.
A prime example is her installation on the side of 302 S. West St. — the former home of Flanders Art Gallery in downtown Raleigh — from back in 2012.
“I’m happily blown away that people are still talking about that piece at Flanders. I honestly never thought it would last as long as it did or get any attention at all,” said White in a recent chat. “I just had an opportunity to make something for that space and was excited that someone in Raleigh was interested enough to have me do it. I hope people will bookmark that one as a key piece in my creative evolution.”
More recently, she collaborated with Raleigh artist Shaun Richards on the mural that now adorns the outside of the soon-to-open Whiskey Kitchen on Martin Street. It’s a striking piece, full of motion and White’s unique style, which she describes as “raw, emotive, loose, but at the same time direct in its representation.”
She says a large focus for her is trying to convey action in a convincing way, finding the delicate balance of faithful rendering and aggressive style. She added, “The poses are exaggerated, the postures contorted, and the emotional input just authentic enough to be convincing.”
A Raleigh native and Savannah College of Art and Design graduate, White’s artistic journey spans three continents and varying styles. After spending time as an illustrator — something she said she wasn’t very happy doing — in Oslo, Norway post college, she found her calling as a professional artist in Melbourne, Australia.
“In Melbourne I got my first taste of freedom. I loved the immediacy of the street, the topographical challenges and the discovery of new spots with which to communicate,” she said. “It was fun, raw, immediate and exciting, and in Melbourne the environment was so supportive I was able to finally see a feasible way to make a living in contemporary art. I’ve been at it ever since.”
But in 2013, the years abroad began to take a toll. As she put it, “I’d started to feel a little bit burnt out and needed a pot to recuperate.” So back to Raleigh she came.
While White’s upcoming projects include the Richmond Mural Project and Detroit’s Murals in the Market, we are excited to see more of her work hit the streets of Raleigh.
And you should be too.