Kevin E. Taylor is an artist living in San Francisco, CA. Taylor’s paintings have a symbiotic theme showing organisms, animals, and humans all coexisting. Whether parasitic or beneficial, the common thread behind his oil on wood paintings is that these strange creatures all exist together- similar to our own reality.His fascination with animals, environment, and human relations has led him to turn animals into humans in an anthropomorphic figure. The collective consciousness that makes us aware of other being in the planet is incorporated in his paintings to tell a story of life, and this thing we call death. Taylor’s abstract narratives are dream-oriented in a playful yet dark ma-cob similar to the theme of Where the Wild Things Are. With humor, harmony, morphology, genealogy, symbiosis, and just not taking himself too seriously, Kevin Earl Taylor attempts to expose the animal within. Kevin took some time out to talk to us here at The405. Check it out! When or how did you first realize that your ability to create art could actually become a possible career path for yourself? When I was probably 7 years old, my friends and I used to do our best to copy this guy who could draw really well. We drew lots of 18 wheeler trucks, spaceships, and guns. I stuck with it and eventually quit copying. When I started skateboarding and listening to punk music in 1984, I really started to see where art fit into life. Skateboard graphics, record covers, we even made our own magazine - all of that really got me going. In high school, I casually took an art class and started to discover I had a bit of talent. When it came time to start thinking about college, I couldn't imagine myself in any more math classes or doing any more book reports on boring subjects. I might have started out going to art college to escape the "books", but I once I discovered 20th century art and all the different artist's processes and concepts, I caught a sort of creative fever. I knew then, I had always been an artist, but it took me that long to figure out that I could actually make a life of it. Lets talk about your art work. A majority of your work appears to focus predominately around animals. In your work these animals are depicted half mummified or in some cases even appear to have human like qualities, such as limbs, torsos and human like stances. What is your reasoning behind this type of imagery. Do you believe in reincarnation? Does your fascination with the animal form go beyond this? As humans, we have removed ourselves from nature. We see ourselves as controlling, managing, or existing beyond nature. This attitude dissolves the awareness that we ARE nature. Humans tend to forget that we too are animals with instincts of survival, sex, and nourishment. The further we separate from nature, the less we understand our "human" faults and issues we continue to develop (environment, overpopulation, etc…). My work re-presents the human and animal together as one anthropomorphic entity, embedding the pair into a hopeful, yet apocalyptic landscape. I rarely plan or sketch things before hand, and I tend not to pre-conceptualize either. I improvise a lot. I like to let each painting have it's way with me, simply out of respect that it will be around a while longer than I will. It should have its say. When the painting is done and it becomes a familiar part of my life, the painting's "meaning" begins to reveal itself through conversations with strangers, friends and with my own self. In the same way that a dream creates itself, leaving you to stab around at it's meaning, once you awaken, a painting develops an identity of it's own. This allows an image the ability to be more functional through becoming relative to a broader audience. As far as reincarnation, I would never say I don’t believe in it. I know that all beings are bodies of energy. Matter cannot be destroyed, so that energy is transferred when beings die, somehow. It has to go somewhere, maybe just worm food. We, as a civilization are nowhere near nor will ever be able to understand the limits to what is and is not reality. The concept of reincarnation has yet to directly influence my work, however. Your art work comes across as very dark as apposed to being up beat or light hearted. Is death something that is constantly on your mind and therefore showing through in your art work? I hear the word “dark” a lot when people ask about my work. I’m pretty used to it. Sometimes they say it like it might rattle me. It’s quite funny to me, actually. Usually that person has seen more darkness in one day than I see in a whole year because they watch television and I don’t. If you want to see real darkness, just look there. I will say that I’m fascinated by mortality and images that stop a viewer in their tracks. I want to make something people don’t forget easily. Something that makes folks restless. I grew accustomed to “dark” art probably through growing up around punk records and skateboard graphics. It’s just a language that I can speak with. To me, it’s not dark, because I don’t take it so incredibly seriously. It’s serious, sure, but it’s also just paint on a piece of wood. When I watch a horror movie, I tend to think about the people standing around drinking coffee behind the cameras text messaging their friends about where they’re going to eat sushi later. Once a guy talked my ear off about my work like he was really interested in it, but it was a whole lead up to telling me I should come to his church since my soul obviously needed guidance. It is a great hope of mine that my work continues to offend and puzzle those kinds of assholes. From whom or from what do you draw your inspiration from when creating a new piece? Would you say that Mythology is something that has influenced your work? Cracks in the sidewalk, seats of the subway, little patches of grass in the middle of the city, friends. I seem to be inspired a lot by things I don’t like. Is that weird? Mythology is of little concern. Medusa was pretty hot, though. I’ve been making a lot of jellyfish lately and found that in most languages the translation resembles medusa for obvious reasons. I thought that was cool. I saw the movie Clash of the Titans probably a hundred times when I was a wee lad. Would you say that each of your pieces can tell or have a personal story attached to them? Is this intentional? If so, it’s one that develops after they’re created and people start to discuss them with me. If a painting has an absolute value, it limits potentially valid ponderings and denies all other explanation. I don’t like that. A lot of times viewers will offer their take on things. Through this, the painting begins to absorb meaning and a story develops. I like that. I think of paintings in a similar way that I think of dreams and they are afforded no different treatment when it comes to their interpretations. Is the Environment and it’s preservation something that you feel strongly about? In my opinion, your work definitely makes a point about the non-existent relationship and restlessness between animals and man, with things such as animal testing, hunting and the destruction of natural habitats going on, would you agree? That’s a good observation on your part, mostly because I agree. I do feel strongly about our environment, but I’m not always sure what aspect I feel strongly about. Secretly, I want the earth to go ahead and get it over with and give our species the eviction notice. I’m not convinced we even deserve to be here any longer. I’m not worried about the earth itself. We don’t have the capability of destroying it as a physical object, but we do have the capability of destroying the environment that allows us to exist upon it. That’s something to think about. I’m not so much an activist, but hopefully through my work, I can help keep the plight of those with no voice on the tips of tongues and minds of men. Would you say that sometimes your religious views and beliefs spill into your art work as a means of conveying a message or influencing the birth of a new character? I’m not religious. I guess my lack thereof has bearing on my perspective. If I were influenced by religion in any way it would be out of distaste, and that’s way too obvious and easy a subject to lampoon. What is your favorite medium to work with when creating a new piece, paint, pencil, spray paint etc? Primarily, I use oil paint on wood. I draw a lot with mixed media using whatever’s lying around- coffee, white out, and hi-liters might all be found within my work. I found a women's mascara brush the other day, and got some really interesting random results with it. Drawing, I'm mostly into mechanical pencils and cheap ballpoint pens. Occasionally, I branch out and explore some sound, video, or sculpture, but I tend to think of that as more a “hobby”. Generally, I don’t really operate in mediums – I’m an artist... I make stuff with other stuff. If you could be part animal/part human, what animal would you be and what parts of your human body would be swapped? I’d be a raccoon. They’re very smart, but in a kind of common sense way, mischievous in that they take what they want, and can put up one hell of a vicious fight if they need to. They’re pretty cool looking too. Finally, where do you see yourself 3 years from now, in regards to your work, new projects and any other personal aspirations you have in life. Hopefully travelling internationally a good bit with my work, no more than 2-3 solo shows a year. Living somewhere fairly remote near the ocean with a large studio and resources to make anything I can dream up a reality. Maybe sharing life with a lovely girl, some pets, and a kid or two to turn into the spawn of Satan him/herself. Make sure you check out more of Kevin's work by visiting his Official Website here