Introduce yourself and tell us where you are from?
Hello! My name is Taylor Cash, and I am a B.F.A. emphasizing graphic design. I’m originally from Red Bay, Alabama, a town right on the Mississippi line, but I moved to Mississippi in my senior year of high school.
What attracted you to the Department of Art & Art History?
I was attracted to the department through a recommendation from a peer when I attended Itawamba Community College. I came to the university for a portfolio review and fell in love with the atmosphere and environment in Meek.
When did you start getting into art?
I started getting into art at the age of three when I would try and draw portraits of my pets. Over the years, that transitioned to making characters and drawing comics with my friends, then learning the Adobe suite and moving over to my computer.
What type of artist do you consider yourself?
I consider myself to be a digital illustrator and graphic designer.
What type of artwork do you create and can you explain your process?
The artwork I’m most fond of creating is high-fantasy digital illustration. The whole process takes place in Adobe Photoshop, where I sketch, line, flat color, shade, and then polish my illustrations exclusively in that program. Most of the subject matter pertains to my favorite thing in the world: Dungeons & Dragons.
Has your artwork changed during the coronavirus?
Though the subject matter of my work didn’t necessarily change, I think the frequency changed as a coping mechanism of combatting the isolation. I’ve created more work in the past year-and-a-half than I ever did before, since I can do it easily from home, and it helped stave off the boredom.
Which artists do you look to for inspiration?
I look to a lot of contemporary high-fantasy character designers, like Ron Koza, Carey Pietsch, and Olivia Samson.
With exhibitions moving online, could you tell us about your BFA thesis?
My thesis is a fully illustrated comic book/graphic novel hybrid detailing a short adventure that took place in a Dungeons & Dragons campaign that I run for my friends! All of the worldbuilding and characters are original creations.
What has been your favorite class during your years here?
I had too much fun in Beginning Printmaking, taught by Lauren Cardenas, in the Fall semester of my senior year. It makes me sad that I couldn’t take more printmaking classes before graduation.
Did you take an online, remote, or hybrid art class? Did it change your way of creating art or learning experience?
I have taken at least one of all three types of classes. In terms of creating my art, not much has changed since I do mostly digital work, but my learning experience is vastly different, from the physical distance from instructors and peers to the less tactile nature of having digital syllabi.
Which professors inspired you the most?
Obviously, I’m super inspired by both Tyler Barnes and Ginny Chavis, as makers of fantastic professional branding and amazing letterpress art respectively. In addition to that, I’ve also been inspired by Lauren Cardenas, as it was through taking her class that I fell a little in love with printmaking.
Could you describe a favorite memory here in the department?
There is no specific memory, rather a collection, but nothing beats the sheer solidarity of being sleep-deprived and nervous right before class on the day of a critique. All your classmates are in the exact same boat, and it’s when you can truly bond with them the most. It’s a short, sweet moment before judgment where jokes are made constantly.
What does the Department of Art & Art History mean to you?
To me, the Department of Art & Art History means a sense of comfort. Coming to the university was a push out of my comfort zone, and I didn’t know anyone in Oxford, but taking classes and meeting people in the Department gave me a sense of creative drive and a new comfort space.
Do you have any advice for incoming art students?
1. Try taking a few extra art classes in disciplines you haven’t tried, if you can. You might learn to love it, and it’ll help diversify you in your specialization.
2. If you’re a transfer student planning on being a BFA, like I was, don’t wait and start talking to professors ASAP. They can help look at and review your past work! Make sure you’re not falling behind!
What are you looking forward to when things get back to normal?
I don’t know if everything will ever be completely normal again, as the effects ripple out, but I really just want to hug all of my friends again.
How has the pandemic affected your life as an artist?
Mainly, the pandemic has kept me from fully submerging myself into a lot of traditional art, since many spaces aren’t user-friendly right now. Because of that, I tried to up my game on illustrating digitally while I could.
Has social media helped you more during this time?
Social media has been a godsend during this time. Being so distant from everyone, social media has helped me keep in touch with people, and I use it every day to check in on my loved ones and friends.
What’s your favorite thing about Oxford?
The atmosphere! From walkable tracks to Downtown, Oxford screams college-friendly. Everything is always bustling, and there are late-night food places, so sometimes I like to just go down to Jackson Ave. at night and just listen to the sounds of the street…
What type of music do you listen to while your creating art?
I typically try and seek out weirder indie music that unsettles me or sounds generally otherworldly, but I always have a few classics alongside them. Lately, it’s been artists like Autoheart, Will Wood, The Stupendium, Lord Huron, and Hozier. Obviously, I always sprinkle in a few Broadway musicals too.
What’s your favorite thing to watch while being a couch potato?
I watch a lot of films, video games, and TV show analysis videos on Youtube. I like to learn even when I’m doing nothing because it feels more productive.
Do you have any plans after graduation?
Search for a job like a madman and take a break from schoolwork for the first time since kindergarten.