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Everything Is Inside of You, It Just Comes Out
Stories from my favourite Instagram influencer and the American artist Henry Taylor
One of my favourite accounts that I follow on Instagram is from an ‘influencer’ called Candice Brathwaite, who promotes fashion and make up products. I don’t know how I found Candice, but I was hooked from the minute I heard her and she has become one of my daily joys.
There’s nothing that Candice promotes that I will ever buy: her style is not my style and I don’t really wear make up. So Candice and I are an unlikely pairing. The marketing men in suits from the companies that pay her to promote their products won’t be getting any money from me.
What I’m interested in is what Candice says and how she says it. She’s totally natural on camera and she makes me laugh. What she tends to do is to drop the product in and then she quickly moves on to the most wonderfully engaging storytelling.
This week Candice talked about a young man she had a relationship with when she was 14, and since then she has lost contact with him. But the memory of him has stayed with her, and he reappears in her thoughts regularly.
She made me think about the thoughts and memories that knock around in our minds that perhaps we don’t consciously acknowledge but are always there running in the background. Or memories that are buried inside us waiting for their moment to shine, when they unexpectedly surface years later in a particular context.
I’m really interested in how and when our memories emerge. Candice’s story made me think of the American artist Henry Taylor, whose work I saw in an exhibition at Hauser & Wirth in Somerset in the UK last year, where he was artist-in-residence during lockdown. If ever there’s an artist whose work clearly combines the context and material of what’s immediately in front of him with his own store of memories and experiences, it’s Taylor.
He describes his process of making as ‘hunting and gathering’, as though he’s collecting and storing up ideas, stories and stuff over time for an artwork that he knows will come to him in the future. When Taylor was isolated in the rural English landscape far away from his home in the States he created this sculpture of a running man with antlers instead of a head. It was the first bronze sculpture he had ever made.
The Somerset landscape where Taylor was staying is clearly visible in the antlers, but the main inspiration for it was a memory that came back to him in which he recalled something his brother told him ten years earlier. Here he is casually explaining it, and I warn you when it comes it’s quite jarring:
‘Everything is inside of you, it just comes out’ Taylor says. I think that’s a great way to think about what art is: it’s a representation of everything inside the artist.