Artist Interview - Kim Taggart

Who are you and what do you do?
As a native Kansan, my fascination with a Midwest sky, round hay bales and the light glancing off the Flint Hills has inspired my Great Plains Series. My graphite drawings explore untroubled horizons and depict everyday subjects that affect most people. I’ve seen and experienced this natural, awe-inspiring landscape in person, but, I have chosen to remove all color and represent it in raw, unprocessed tones of black and white to evoke admiration for its organic/inorganic composition, the contrast in values, texture and graceful form. Working in a large format helps connect the viewer to the impactful nature of this region.

Art Training began early in charcoal, pastel, pen & ink and oil paint. I am enthused with the drawing mediums above all and continuing to Kansas State University; my Senior Art Show contained mostly pastels and graphite works of art. Earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree, my pursuits after college landed in graphic design using learned skills in art directing. My passion for fine art continued throughout the years, receiving commissioned art opportunities and wall murals in homes and businesses.

Why do you do what you do?
My last name is Taggart. I am destined to be an artist. I use to tell classmates who dared to spell my name with an “e” that it’s spelled with “art” at the end — cause I’m an artist. It’s a passion of mine from youth, spending hours reproducing Norman Rockwell illustrations, drawing horses and whatever was popular at the time. My day consist of the continuous “seeing” of compositions everywhere I go.

How and when did you get into art?
While in kindergarten my drawings captured the attention of my teacher and art continued to be my favorite subject. Starting with private art lessons as a child, I continued my studies at Kansas State University earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with an emphasis in graphic design. At that time, I pursued and owned a commercial art business for over 20 years.  I’m now reinventing myself with an old love: drawing.

How has your practice changed over time?
As a graphic designer with drawing skills, I was always seeking illustration jobs. When I started in graphics, I didn’t own a computer and all my drawings in scratchboard, watercolor and pen & ink were produced by hand. And since I was trained early in all the core disciplines, deciding on one style was hard for me— I wanted to do it all. I eventually started painting murals that fulfilled my art desire. But, my new passion is in graphite and charcoal.

What’s your favorite piece of art that you’ve created? Why? 
I was introduced to the Flint Hills when I attended college at K-State in Manhattan, Kansas. This surreal Flint Hills landscape has always been a favorite. However, my new work in graphite is my favorite now. Especially, Winter Plains.

Flint Hills

Winter Plains

What’s the best piece of art advice you’ve been given?
As a very detail-oriented artist, it was hard for me to loosen up. My drawing professor made me go outside, grab a weed or stem or anything I could dip into ink, and draw with that new tool. I couldn’t rely on my sharp pencil point. Find something unconventional to create art with and experiment.

What’s one art tip/technique you can share with us that you find really helpful?
Use the right paper for the job.

Do you have any secret tips or techniques you use to salvage a piece when you make a mistake?
Sometimes “happy accidents” are good things – the results are unexpected and create “art”. So don’t judge a piece until it’s finished, because you may like it after all.

What is your favorite Strathmore paper?
Currently, Strathmore 500 Series Bristol Vellum 4-ply paper in 30 x 40-inch size. It takes an eraser well and performs like a champ! Plus, I work large!

What art materials could you not live without?
My champion paper, a kneaded eraser and graphite sticks/crayons: 2H, F, H, and my B’s including 9XXB.

See more from Kim on her website

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