CV/Bio

Jessica Taylor
Born: St. Louis, MO; October 21, 1980

Since a child, I had always excelled at coloring and drawing, etc. In 2nd grade I sold hand drawn posters to my classmates. I used to draw penguins that were dancing on the beach and written across the top was the saying, 'Life's a Beach!' It was, life was a beach in those days; selling posters for 25 cents a pop! A girl needed her candy money in those days. 

I have been painting seriously since I was 16 years old and I wish I still had some of my work from those early days. I painted a portrait of a family member from a picture on her wedding day. I painted her normal skin tone with magenta hair and turned it in senior year of high school as part of a final project. When high school was over I made a run for it and didn't look back. I moved to Chicago and attended Loyola University for a few years. While at Loyola in a printmaking class I was struck with a memory of this painting and desired to see it again. I went back to my art teacher, coined Sister Satan because she was such a &*@#$!, and I asked her if she still had my painting. She looked at me in my face with her familiar mean nun face and told me she threw it away. I stared at her thinking to myself that I am not sorry for ever calling her Sister Satan or acting out in class. She would never have done that to any of her pet students who so diligently mixed colors and recreated color wheel after color wheel. Those pet students followed her rules and strived to please her while I mainly displayed behaviors consistent with a renegade or juvenile delinquent. Nonetheless and irrespective of my behavior, there was no reason for her to throw out my painting which I believed was the impetus of my painting career. 

I finshed my studies of art at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. I believe that I am one class shy of a minor. I never took design I as I believed I was above it...nor did I take Painting I for the same reason. I had been painting for 6 years by that time and also recently finished a mural in the Hard Times Lounge in St. Louis, MO. I was also slightly scarred from the incessant color wheeling I had done in all of the independent introductory classes I had taken in various locations including the St. Louis Art Museum from the age of 12. I was not paying $150 per credit hour to learn another lesson about the color wheel! I waltzed into Painting II without detection. There, I painted a self-portrait assigned by my Painting II teacher and the assignment was to use anything besides a paint brush. I embraced this. I was excited and I painted what I thought was the second turning point in my painting career. My family loved it and my friends believed that I had captured the essence of myself. I took it with me to Painting III and hung it in my studio space proudly. Thanksgiving rolled around and I went to my mom's in Minnesota and was talking about this painting at dinner; everyone bored of me talking again about this piece of work. My mom mentioned that I should not leave my work at school over the long breaks after I finished whining about how the teachers told us to clean out our studio spaces before the break. I was confident in the '22 year old way' that nothing was going to happen. Needless to say, I returned to school to a missing self-portrait!? I reported this painting as stolen to the police at the University and they laughed at me. I truly believed my painting was worth $1500 or $2,000. They laughed while I gave the description which made me want to punch them all in the face. 

Later, I became pregnant with my son and was unusually inspired by my vagina--not that it is unusual to be inspired by a vagina, but I had never experienced this magnitude of inspiration before about one of my own body parts. Rightfully so, I was inspired my vagina and decided a vagina was the missing image for Penis Envy. Before the legs and vagina appeared I experimented with a number of different scenarios: flaming roses, Ferris wheels, etc...The woman with her hand over her face had been on the painting since the beginning but I was still unsure of what she was looking so furtively at. I spent 4 or 5 years wrestling with this painting. It came to life once I put on the vagina and then next the fire hydrant, which was so much fun to put in the scene. I have shown this painting at three separate art shows: 2 with the Art COOP in St. Louis, MO. and 1 at the Rochester Erotic Art show in Rochester, NY. This painting was never accepted in any of the coffee house shows for which I applied and/or showed work. When I showed this painting at the last COOP art show before I left for London the curator, a drunken Charles Bukowski-esque kind of dude, refused to return this painting to me. He threatened to destroy it. He was mad because I paid my entrance fee at the end of the show rather than beforehand; after I sold all my work. I called the cops to force him to give me my painting back and was again laughed at by law enforcement. Isn't a painting my property? If someone threatens to destroy it and never give it back that is a crime, right!? This is now THE turning point in my career and with a little consideration of my history; naming all of my paintings that I fall in love with turning points in my career; I am ready to part with this one to make room for a new one. I believe that it was out of my loss that I set out to paint better and better to make up for the lost works that went before. 

I have sold a number of other works as I sloughed off a lot of my work before I left to live in London. I was selling paintings for $20 & $40 just to get them out of my basement. I signed them in all caps J.TAYLOR with a black sharpie. Today, I sign in black paint but for a while I refused to sign my work because I never had the chance to sign the work that I had to part with abruptly. Recently, I was convinced to sign a mural I painted in Little Falls, MN at Whiskey River Saloon and when I hired a framer for Penis Envy she reinforced the importance of signing my work. I don't know that I am fully converted...

Nonetheless, I believe I have my 10,000 hours in and the work that is posted on here is by far the best I have produced yet. I continue to surprise myself and that is exactly why I keep working. I am finding my technique and want to expand my collection to 12, then, put together a show in New York City. That is the next thing I want to add to my CV/BIO here; art show in NYC. 

Otherwise, I am an artist who occasionally tutors young people in drawing or painting. I feel complete when I am inspiring young artists with the passion I feel for art.