Phil Taylor is a multi-platform designer of graphic and auditory works including design for web.
He has taught art and design in a number of environments, including illustration animation and photography. He is interested in the synthesis of sound and moving image within the themes of identity, location, culture and history, particularly for website design.
Phil Taylor's work covers practice as an artist, educator, designer and musician. He leads Graphic Design at the University of Brighton alongside experimental practice that examines the relationships between communicative cultures, including those between graphic and audio experiences and between analogue and digital practices.
Phil's practice work has dealt with these investigations in a number of major projects, making special use of web-based platforms and evolving visual and audio narratives. He exhibits in the UK and internationally as an artist and has also worked commercially, as an interactive web designer for various companies from 2001-08, including Norwich Union, Voyages Jules Verne, Epic, Victoria Real, and Channel 4.
Projects based on his experiences of the American West include Confluence, Fragments and Urban Ghosts (Confluencia, Fragmentos y Fantasmas Urbanos)(2012)and The Last Best Place (2001), respectively considering the way we understand the inhabitants and landscapes of Arizona and Montana. The production of websites and artists' books, together with collaborating artists and designers, allows for a re-evaluation of classic frontier narratives as they have been told and retold. Phil develops work from an understanding of the identity, location, culture and history of the subject. His multi-disciplinary practices, making use of photography, writing, drawing, moving image and digital interactivity, reflect the diversity of the theme and material as well as a platform through which different disciplines can be synthesised.
His websites for these projects allow for ongoing reflection and development of the themes, a host for work in progress and sketch books as well as completed items. At the same time this suggests and encourages further exploration and an open-endedness to visual communications investigations.
Underpinning his diverse practice-led experiments, Phil Taylor also contributes to conferences and writings on visual communication. His personal experience in graphic design and visual communication led to presentations and publications on the implications of new and traditional technologies co-existing in graphic communicative practices and in education of designers. He has noted, particularly, that contemporary students, compared with those studying at earlier stages of technological evolution, are not impressed by how fast something can be achieved digitally, or how efficient personal computers are today.
Phil Taylor's work on Auditory Culture concerns the phenomenon whereby sonic elements are subjugated by a prevailing visual experience. This emphasis on sight over sound influences the way in which the everyday world is 'read'. Often the nature of the sonic landscape is disregarded. Also, as technology becomes ever more prevalent in our world, social and public environment has become a place cluttered with noise generated by the increasing application of technology, irreversibly altering our auditory experience. Phil has worked in collaboration with the Academy of Creative and Performing Arts, Leiden University, The Netherlands, on this research into Auditory Culture.
As a tutor, Phil Taylor lectures in screen-based digital media on the MDes Graphic Design & Illustration and MA Sequential Illustration courses, and coordinates the Digital Media Design Consortium consisting of a Foundation Degree and a BA (Hons) Top-up delivered at partner colleges in Sussex.
He completed a Fine Art Honours degree (Printmaking) in 1987 and a Post-Graduate Certificate of Education from the London Institute in 1988. He was awarded an MA in Electronic Media from Oxford Brookes University in 1999.
He has extensive experience of teaching within education across a range of levels. He taught art and design in secondary schools and graphic design, illustration, animation & photography in Further Education before being appointed as senior lecturer at the University of Brighton in 2002. In 1995 – 96 Taylor undertook a Fulbright Teacher Exchange with Montana State University, USA, teaching graphic design and digital media.
In addition to teaching practice, Phil Taylor has also developed and managed art and design courses in both Further and Higher Education. He was course leader for Foundation Diploma (Graphics & Illustration) at City College Brighton & Hove (1993 – 2002), and led course development teams for Digital Media Design FdA & BA (Hons) Top-up courses at the University of Brighton (2006-07). He has regularly worked with other institutions, both as a lecturer and a consultant. He was a visiting lecturer on the BA (Hons) Graphic Design at Kingston University (2002-04) & BA (Hons) Media Production at Bournemouth University (2000-02).
Phil has held consultancy and advisor positions on curriculum and course development including FdA Digital Design at Bath Spa University (2007), Graphic Communication at Hasting College of Arts & Technology (2007) and MDes Visual Communication at Derby University (2009).
Taylor, Phil (2012) Confluence, Fragments and Urban Ghosts (Confluencia, Fragmentos y Fantasmas Urbanos) Studio Hotel Vitrine, Brighton, UK.
Taylor, Phil (2012) Urban Ghosts (Fantasmas Urbanos) [Digital and visual media]
Taylor, Phil (2010) The Lo-Fi Phenomenon – Analogue versus Digital in the Creative Process In: 'Calling all Futures', Porto University - 'Calling all Futures‘ Fundacio Para a Ciencia e a Technologia and University of Texas, Austin and Porto University.
Sneltvedt, Sol, Taylor, Phil, Warr, John and Krause, Sina (2009) Bridging the gap in moving image, connecting new and traditional technologies for enhanced communication between students, academic and support staff across arts and design [Report (for external body)]
"Taylor's work is thought provoking, evocative and responds to history, culture and location with powerful resonances."
(Karen Gustafeson (University of Texas, Austin, USA), co-curator of ‘Future Places – digital media and local cultures’ festival and conference at Porto, Portugal Oct’09)
“His photographs have a fluid quality to them, as though grasped when moving, slightly off balance, evoking something perhaps remembered rather than seen. With his hallucinatory portrayal of livid pools of light against dark shadows he suggests the emergence of moments of illumination from the depths of the unconscious. Images recur with the insistence of memory: guns, bones, skulls, beat up trucks and store signs, a stuffed buffalo head, the same head as a tattoo on someone’s arm. An angel bestrides a dinosaur inside the empty hole of a skull, bones decorate the edge of a shack roof in a display of macabre decoration, bars lie empty and expectant, a lamp decorated with a stripper sits on a bedside table. Everywhere there are signs – “How to Handle Failure” says the sign outside the Cavalry Baptist Church, “Loaves and Fishes” on a store wall, “Blessed is he who should not be offended in me” says another sign – religion is everywhere, but revealed in fragmentary enigmatic phrases inscribed on the stage set of the town. The iconography is a familiar one – there are echoes of the uses of vernacular imagery by Walker Evans, of the ways in which he encoded an American identity in the very surfaces of the clapboard buildings, advertising hoardings, and streets of nineteen thirties. But Taylor reworks this imagery through the medium of the photo essay into something densely re-imagined. Many of the same images reappear in his moving image work, reassembled into timed projection pieces that reinsert the images into narratives, overlain by music and sounds. Taylor’s work is dominated by the process of montage, by the chance juxtaposition of images, old photographs, graphic signs, and sounds. If he is drawn in his photography to the serendipitous, to the strange encounters between objects and people and signs, then he overlays this with other chance encounters, revising the story, telling the structure of one dream through another. In another work Gridlock he montages together all the images taken in his visits to motel rooms, the random arbitrariness of the structure yielding its own stories. Sometimes in his moving image work he will also create a grid of screens, as in Poisonville, a portrait of the desolation of Butte. Sometimes, as in La Marseillaise, smaller screens will appear inserted into the main one and we read them both through and against each other. In all this work the space occupied by the image is one that is multi-layered and open, suggesting an endless network of potential associations and readings."
(‘The Last Best Place’ – extract from introductory essay by Joanna Lowry, 2009)
"This, quite simply, was extremely cool and is the best bit of work I’ve seen over the four years. The media was extremely well handled with, I’m very pleased to say, a deft use of sound which was carefully edited and therefore had good transitions between one section and another. This is something that I don’t often encounter with Macromedia type things. I also liked the inherent architecture of the piece. The material was carefully poised and the contrasts never jarring. Rather, they were capable of providing witty movements of counterpoint. Impressive technically and conceptually.”(Exhibition review/catalogue (MA Electronic Media, Oxford Brookes 1999)- Nick Virgo - MA in EM, Oxford Brookes University 1999)