Each month in 2023, we’re asking a local artist to recreate one of our iconic covers from the past 75 years. For December, we tapped artist Taylor Chapin to help us recreate San Diego Mag‘s January 1965 cover. Check out her unique translation here and learn more about Chapin in the Q&A below:
Tell us about how you found your distinguished style and how you honed your skills.
The style I’m currently working in was developed during my recent time in grad school at UCSD. I’ve always been fascinated by branding and advertising, and my earlier work explored this very overtly through painting brands and products representationally.
During my time experimenting in school, I was challenged to think of new ways to explore these themes, and I had the idea of very literally covering up the products and brands I was painting with fabric so that their form was obscured. I began painting these covered forms as a way of critiquing how value is represented. This led to my current obsession of covering everything—including the human form.
I’ve always been really into pattern and detail since I was a kid, and now I’ve found ways to incorporate all the patterns I’m attracted to into my work through this act of covering the form in fabric. I’ve honed my skills over the years through countless hours of painting, and I continue to do so by painting pretty much everyday. Painting never ceases to challenge me, and I love working through the process slowly and methodically and learning more as I go.
What artists do you admire or look up to?
There’s so many artists I look up to. I’m currently really inspired by the work of Amy Adler, she was one of my advisors in grad school. I’m also really into the work of Jean Lowe, Hilary Pecis, Ken Gun Min, and Ilana Savdie, to name a few.
How do you think your art reflects the Southern California lifestyle or plays a role in the way your art comes to life?
To me, Southern California has such a specific color palette and aesthetic associated with it. I think my palette of bright and contrasting colors is very much inspired by Southern California. I also think my interest in consumption and consumerism is related to my observations and experience of living in Southern California, because it is a capital for conspicuous consumption, entertainment, and the performance of wealth and beauty. I think being in such close proximity to this type of display has heightened my fascination with our culture of consumption.
What was your big break?
I was in a group show in 2018 at Hill Street Country Club, a nonprofit arts space in Oceanside. Dinah Pollenitz, the cofounder and curator at Hill Street, subsequently offered me a solo show there in 2019. This first solo show has led to so many other amazing opportunities throughout San Diego, and I am forever grateful to Dinah for supporting my work and providing me with one of my first opportunities to show my work in an art space in San Diego.
What do you have on the horizon workwise?
I have a solo show with Quint Gallery in La Jolla in March of 2024 that I’m currently working on. I will also be doing a public mural in Pacific Beach next year, and I have a few other projects that are currently in their early stages of development.
Where can people find your work to admire or hire you?
People can check out my work on my website. I have a show up at ICA North through the end of this year. I also have a few murals around San Diego including one on the side of Warren Hall at UCSD, an indoor mural at Corner Pizza in Oceanside, and one on the south-facing side of the Leucadia Donut Shoppe. I am available for hire via the contact form on my website.