Immerse Yourself In The Surrealist Artwork Of Maggie Taylor

September 10, 2018

|Patricia Cordero
surrealism photography

Through her surrealist digital photographs, artist Maggie Taylor invites you to explore your craziest dreams and put your imagination to the test.

Have you ever had a really weird dream? Like an elephant flying over a pond, a lion boxing with a unicorn, or taking a bath in a teapot? If so, you could be one of the characters created by digital artist Maggie Taylor, who draws incredible scenes where the unimaginable becomes possible.


Taylor, born in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1961, started out as a student of traditional photography, working in the dark room with black and white film, and then in color. But then, as it has happened with other art forms, technology spread into photography, so in 1995, she started using a computer that completely changed the way she created her artworks. “I couldn’t do enough with the film and in the dark room. It was a perfect fit for my ideas and what I wanted to do,” Maggie says in an interview with Cultura Colectiva.


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They're At It Again. Maggie Taylor


The artist recalls using one of the first versions of Photoshop, before it even used layers. Nowadays, she can include tenths of layers to add more elements to her still lives, so we can find amazing characters and scenes that are way too surreal, reminding us of the work of artists such as Hieronymus Bosch, Remedios Varo, Leonora Carrington, and Salvador Dalí.


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He Was Part Of My Dream. Maggie Taylor



The process

Maggie brings real-life objects into her studio. Then, she scans them or takes a simple photo with natural light, and incorporates them into her unique work. You might think that with technology the creative process is faster, but it can take her up to six weeks to finish one of her pieces.

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Ship Of Fools. Maggie Taylor


“I don’t know where it is going. I start just working either with a person or a background landscape. Then, I start building it up, and it takes me like three weeks, and then I go back again and again, adding and adding and adding, and then it becomes busy and I have to take things away, but then I become like an editor, when simplifying it,” Maggie explains.


But the hard part of this creative process is to know when the work is finished. Maybe it is after adding and removing elements, and feeling it is time to move on to another artwork, or it can also be that the finished piece doesn’t please the artist, so it goes to the trash.


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And A Good Handsome Shape It Is. Maggie Taylor


The artist, who now lives in Florida, enjoys checking out the flea markets. There, she finds old black-and-white photographs (like daguerreotypes or ambrotypes) of anonymous people who she then transforms into the main characters of her surreal landscapes.

“The people in my photographs are from the 18th and 19th century. I feel I’m not a good photographer of people anyway,” she says.


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Stories Will Be Told. Maggie Taylor


Maggie's digital composites have been collected and exhibited by many museums, including: The Center for Creative Photography, The George Eastman House, The Harry Ransom Center, The High Museum, and The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, among others. Recently, the artist created a set of images to illustrate a beloved literary classic, Alice in Wonderland. In these illustrations, she breathes new life into characters we already know, giving them a very surreal touch.


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All The Next Witness. Maggie Taylor


You can follow Maggie Taylor on Instagram or find out more about her work on her website.


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Find other surreal stories here:

The 15th Century Surrealist Who Depicted Our Worst Nightmares

5 Surrealist Female Painters That Put Dalí To Shame

10 Dadaist Women Artists You Should Know

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Patricia Cordero

Patricia Cordero


Editorial coordinator CC+
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