John Taylor is a self-taught artist. He sculpts intricately detailed ships using scrap wood, computer parts, and other various discarded stuff. His ships are based on actual vessels including Civil War-era riverboats, WWI battleships, and 19th century passenger steamers. The artist’s handing of materials and surface elevates these works beyond mere replica models. He explains that he creates the vessels to look like they’ve been excavated from the bottom of the ocean rather than making perfect replicas of the ships that inspire him because, “If it’s an exact replica, there’s no room for you to really wonder about it.” With an appearance of decay they become artifacts temporarily stopped in time - a documentation of a disappearing history. The fleeting nature of industrialized ephemera created along the way of human development is also implicit in the artist’s chosen materials, which include scrap computer parts treated to look like rusty metal.
Originally a landscape architect by trade, John Taylor began fist became fascinated with historical ships in 1997, after discovering a trunk of mementos belonging to his great-grandfather, who had served in the navy during the Spanish-American war, and in particular a photograph of the sailor standing on the deck of a ship. His ocean and river vessels are a medium of expression that incorporates his love of found objects, technology castoffs, and vintage materials. His work has been exhibited in museums around the country, including the Boise Museum of Art, the Henry Art Museum and the Oceanside Museum of Art. Notable collectors of his work include the Microsoft Corporation, Andre Agassi, and Billy Joel.
The Richard Peck
Folk Ship by John Taylor. Mixed media of found and recycled stuff. The Richard Peck was a late 19th century passenger steamer (1892), which operated out of New Haven. 10.5 x 36 x 6 inches. Metal stand adds 3 inches in height.