AP Art of the Week

Spotlight on Artist Taylor Jackson

Welcome to The Elective’s digital art museum, dedicated to the incredible work of AP Arts students. This week we feature a digital painting made by Taylor Jackson from George Washington Carver Center for Arts and Technology in Towson, MD.

Welcome to The Elective’s digital art museum, dedicated to the incredible work of AP Arts students. Each week we highlight a work or series created in one of the AP Arts concentrationsAP 2-D Art and Design, 3-D Art and Design, and AP Drawing (the AP Program also offers Art History and Music Theory)—as well as a statement from the artist (and, occasionally, their teacher).

In the past, we’ve spotlighted artists who had their work included in AP Art online exhibitions. But starting this week, we’re doing something a bit different. While the AP Art team finalizes the next online exhibition, The Elective will share some of the most engaging pieces created by AP Art students this year—because the art is as urgent as our times.

From the first cave paintings to contemporary breakthroughs in virtually reality, art, in all its forms, has been a crucial way for people to process, make sense of, comment on, and grapple with the world around them. In 2020, there is a lot to process and grapple with—and AP Art students have risen to the challenge. The work many of them submitted in their final portfolios is explicitly of the moment, from commentary on the covid-19 pandemic to the celebration of people of color to the nature of heroism in perilous times.

The work is often challenging and provocative but always insightful, inspiring, and expansive.

This week we feature a digital painting made by Taylor Jackson from George Washington Carver Center for Arts and Technology in Towson, MD.

Digital illustration of a cluttered room with a young man seated at a desk, his hand hanging in thought, in the background

Here’s Taylor’s statement on the work:

"My concentration explores my identity, how I see myself, and how it relates to family.

It starts in a classical sense, with self-portraits, which are a traditional representation of self-referencing. Portraiture in history represents what we see in the mirror. I also focus on how I view my brothers and my family dynamics. I began playing with space to evoke tone using contrasting light sources to add to the mood of isolation and strength that are felt in these pieces. Isolation comes out in this piece, which is about how my close-knit family has felt about being quarantined from each other. To make this piece, I took reference photos then drew and painted with a drawing tablet.

I returned to black and white to show the results of my investigation into self-identity by giving it a somber feeling. I further my idea by delving into my family history, referencing how Brown v. Board of Education and my grandma graduating from school had a significant impact on me and my family. In the culminating piece, my whole family is the direct subject. I am represented in the piece as apart from my family looking in, conveying that I'm not only exploring my own identity but also my family's identity."

Here are a few more pieces from Taylor’s portfolio:

Black and white drawing of two black children on a bed with a cat

This piece is about how I love my brothers and my cat. I wanted to have a warm mood in this piece.

Digital illustration of two young black kids standing in a living room holding baseball bats

I took reference photos, then drew and painted with a drawing tablet.

Black and white drawing of a young black woman sitting near a mirror

I toned the paper with charcoal, then erased out highlights and added values with charcoal pencil.

Black and white drawing of a young black woman looking in a mirror with negative words scrawled on her white dress

This piece is about how the world sees me—positive words—versus how I see myself—negative words.

Painting with a graduate seen from behind at the bottom of the canvas looking up an orange wall that is topped with a columned building

I first, sketched out my idea, then toned the canvas, then painted with acrylic paint.

Painting of a black family sitting around a dining room table

I first, sketched out my idea, then toned the canvas, then painted with acrylic paint.

Student statements are lightly edited for clarity.