Art as a Healing Process
Glen Martin Taylor is an American artist who uses ceramics to express his emotions.
Indeed, he considers the act of breaking and repairing as a personal therapy to deal with the pain of soul’s ‘fractures’.
Among the posts on his Instagram profile, you can understand his thoughts about this:
“The unbroken vase is just a vase. But broken, I see rhythm and I feel the possibilities and freedom to go in any direction I choose […].
There are no rules on how you hold yourself together […].
The secret is to accept emptiness, to find gratitude for the pain because we discover that our weakest parts are what hold us altogether, our broken parts make us whole […].”
I therefore decided to deepen Glen Martin Taylor’s artistic thought by interviewing him.
From what you wrote, are you the ceramic element in your works firstly broken or pierced and then repaired?
Yes, all my work is a self-portrait which I believe is true for most artists, writers, etc.
Your aim is not to restore ceramics to their original state and make them functional again, but rather to exploit them to metaphorically heal your wounds. Can you tell me something about it?
My work is solely art therapy for myself, and the act of repairing is the way I have found to increase my self-worth as a damaged human being.
Speaking of personal fractures and pain, here are some phrases that the artist published on social media about his past:
“While growing up at home, I can only remember days of tension and sadness; my mother’s battle with all her demons, my father’s struggles with his faith, my siblings starving for love.
Being the youngest, I became the quiet observer of the dilemma of being a human and I tried to make a little sense of all the pain.”
So, why is there in your works a strong contrast between fragile objects, usually linked to the feminine sphere (such as tea sets, sewing spools, buttons …), and tools associated with violence and male work (such as nails, hammers, barbed wire…)?
The core of who I am started with the dynamic between my father and mother. And I still work with that energy to resolve my innermost conflicts and trauma.
Why are there often also natural materials such as ropes, bones, and shells in your works?
As a small child, I distinctly remember once, I built a small structure made of sticks and string, creating with my hands for the first time, my own safe dwelling.
And in so many ways, the use of natural material is my way of still dwelling in that structure, somewhere in the darkness, in a safe corner of my head.
You also frequently insert belts, locks, zips, and chains. What is their significance to you?
Those objects, which usually allude to a constricting closure, have instead, for me, the goal of releasing all that’s inside me
And the wheels? Do they represent a willingness to move away from a world that you did not fully feel yours?
They are actually related to movement, speed and the shortness of this life, the process of constantly growing older until death.
In conclusion, in some works it seems that emotions, such as anger, are preponderant, in others, however, the appearance is immediately striking, as in ceramics with blue shades. Which of the two aspects is more important to you?
I try to deal with all my emotions, I own all of them. Sometimes, what may appear as anger, is just my expression of the violence of being human, from childbirth to death, to the death of our dreams and sometimes our love and hope.
Sometimes it’s just the passion I feel and I’m trying to express it.
Finally, talking about the blue, it is also unattached from the aesthetic aspect because it is just a very emotional color for me.
Photo courtesy of the artist