Spotlight on Artisans: Taylor Stone

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— Taylor Stone

It’s been a hot, dry summer. In such conditions, cacti, aloe, and some palm trees (also called succulents) are a great choice for plant lovers. Cut paper artist and Vineyard native Taylor Stone has an even better option. Her miniature succulents, crafted out of paper, require no water at all — just a nice place in the sun to display them.

I met Ms. Stone, a graduate of Savannah College of Art and Design, a few weeks ago at the Artisans Festival. I noticed an Alice in Wonderland–themed print and immediately thought of my sister’s upcoming birthday. After purchasing it, I struck up a conversation with Ms. Stone about how she came to be here, selling three-dimensional “paintings” made of paper, inspired by fantasy as well as her Vineyard home.

When did you get inspired to be an artist?

Growing up I really wanted to teach — specifically fourth grade math. I didn’t really have art on my mind as an actual career option until I started college at the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD). Even once I was accepted, I had no idea how to fit what I loved doing into an actual career besides being a teacher or a fine artist. I just knew I loved drawing and that was where I needed to be.

I am very lucky that SCAD is one of the few art schools that doesn’t push a certain style on their students. My senior year, when I knew I wanted to experiment with cut paper, all of my professors were completely open to me. I was actually a late bloomer finding my style. That’s one of those things that just comes naturally with time.

Where do you get your inspiration?

Children’s book illustrations, folk tales, mythology, and the ever-inspiring natural world. I fill my illustrations with the magic I grew up knowing existed in every nook of the world, using bright whimsical colors and simple repetitive shapes to create a new world for viewers to experience.

How would you describe yourself as an artist, both personally and in terms of the media you use?

I’m a surprisingly procedural artist. Each step in my process is very important, and needs to be done in a certain way. In the end there’s not much editing I can do once something has been cut and glued. There’s a lot of steps to making cut paper art, and they need to be done right, but I do enjoy every moment, from drawing out the composition to spending hours upon hours cutting all the shapes.

When did you establish your business by commission and as a printmaker?

By the time I graduated from SCAD I already had my Etsy shop going for my potted paper plants, and had my website online. Since my bigger pieces take so long to make, it took a while to build up a portfolio of exclusively cut paper illustrations. Even though I’ve been doing the artist thing for a few years now (entering shows and galleries, working the online world), it wasn’t until I came back home to the Island last summer that it really started making sense for me as a career. In the past year my workload has really picked up, having commissions for smaller pet portraits, and even larger custom pieces.

What would you say is your most popular piece?

My Martha’s Vineyard topography maps. I make each one from different plain or patterned papers to keep them unique, and those are the quickest to sell in the summer. As far as my larger work, I have two new prints out this year from custom orders over the winter, and I think both of them really show an improvement in my craft, and might be my current favorites (my “Alice in Wonderland” print, and my “First Flight” print).

To find out more about Taylor Stone and her artwork, visit taylorstoneillustration.com. You’ll find her blog and a link to her Etsy shop, in addition to her portfolio. For commissions and more, email her at meow@taylorstoneillustration.com.