Why Virgin Islands artist Johanie Taylor says that the paintbrush chose her

Johanie Taylor is an artist from the Virgin Islands
Why Virgin Islands artist Johanie Taylor says that the paintbrush chose her
Photo courtesy of Patrick McKenzie.

Proudly hailing from the United States Virgin Islands, Johanie Taylor is an emerging millennial who works with or on any space and medium such as canvas, acrylic paint, resin, spray paint, and broken glass. Taylor has a growing portfolio and is also in demand to do commissioned portraits for high-profile athletes and entertainers.

Taylor is also committed to philanthropy and supporting the Arts at HBCUs in particular, as she donated a custom piece of Dr. Mary McCleod Bethune to the School of Performing Arts and Communication at Bethune-Cookman University.

How did art begin for you?

I had been painting since I was a kid and sketching in the Virgin Islands, and it was just like a hobby. It’s always something I did, but I just kept it to myself. I don’t know if I picked art, I think art picked me. I gravitated towards it because I’m ruled by emotion, so I’m going to do what emotionally is safe, legal, and makes me feel better. It was like one day, I told myself I’m going to do more of this and I started showcasing it. I actually sold a piece and I was like, “Wow, you really think this is cool, you’re really going to pay this much for it?” Before I knew it, I was onto something, so let me keep going. The more I showcased it on social media, I got so much traffic, good responses, and people hitting me up, and it felt like a ripple effect. It was always there. It’s like a girl you knew your whole entire life, and one day you’re just like, “Wow, you really been there for me. Let me focus on you right now.”

How would you describe your artistic style?

I would say it’s abstract and very colorful. I love color because of the brightness that it brings, and the happiness. I don’t like to paint skin tones. I like to paint people not with skin color, but in color. Some of the stuff I use, you would rarely find. I use brown in skin tones. I wouldn’t just use one word to describe my style, but I think it’s worldly. I would say it’s on a high vibrational frequency because it’s multi-dimensional. It’s not just two-dimensional. A lot of my pieces are three-dimensional. A lot of my pieces change depending on whether you add a black light to it or sunlight to it, so I wouldn’t just say one word.

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