Taylor Lee Nicholson (b. 1990, they/them) is a genderqueer multidisciplinary artist who loves to mix kitsch and creepiness for comically grotesque results. As an absurdist and a surrealist, they are like a depressed Pee Wee Herman. Taylor transforms lowbrow, banal materials such as junk mail and tabloids into art to dissect themes of hyperreality, consumerism, and death. Taylor is a studio artist at the McColl Center, and their work has been shown in numerous galleries and art spaces around the Southeastern United States including McColl Center, Charlotte; Goodyear Arts, Charlotte; and Redux Contemporary, Charleston. In 2017 and 2020 Taylor was an artist-in-residence at Arquetopia Foundation for Development in Puebla, Mexico and will be joining Arquetopia in Naples, Italy for the Outstanding Alumni Residency in 2023. Taylor has collaborated with numerous brands including NBC Universal, Vans, Microsoft Surface, Bojangles, and Almond Breeze, and their works have appeared in Vogue and Oprah Daily.
I was raised on garbage: not just a steady diet of hot dogs, Vienna sausages and Spam (the garbage parts of the pig), but a lot of Jerry Springer and The Price is Right. The spectacle and noise of this programming taught me at an early age that poverty is loud. I consumed a lot of tabloids, trash magazines that speculated who killed JonBenet Ramsey, and relished the sordid details of Princess Diana’s bloody death. These magazines had a fetish for deterioration (and of course the occasional alien abduction or Wolf Boy). Little did I know, as I was drinking dollar store soda and listening to Barker’s contestants scream out bids on washing machines, my family was experiencing a decay of our own. Our house was literally falling apart, sinking further into the ground every time it rained. In secret, my grandmother hunched in the basement, stacking heaps of newspaper and tabloids to absorb the water and brace the foundation of our home. She was keeping our white trash family afloat on a mound of molded paper pulp, slimy pink with mildew and smeared with Priscilla Presley.