Baltimore Style September 2017: In Studio Feature (Home Base)

by Kimberly Uslin, Photographs by Justin Tsucalas

By the time Maxine Taylor made her way to Butchers Hill in 1996, art was just about the only thing on her mind. 

"I was asking around about places, saying to my art friends, 'I don't want a house I want to live in, I want a big­ger studio!" 

Luckily, she found both, in the form of a converted arabber stable she now uses as home, studio and gal­lery-though living where she works has its disadvantages. 

"The idea was that I'd be con­fronted by my art both finished and unfinished, but I've just become more accustomed to it," she says. "I don't see it as much anymore." 

The unexpected immunity is just another reason for her "mind over matter" approach to creation. Despite her assertion that her art is borne of an unexplained feeling within her, Taylor says she's "pretty practical" about the way she works, beginning at around 10 a.m. and working up until she goes to bed on her art, administra­tive gallery tasks and her forthcoming community arts nonprofit. 

The artist, who has transitioned through a number of phases from landscapes to found-object art to her latest, abstract three-dimensional col­lage, generally has about three or four pieces in process at a time. 

"I had this one collage out all win­ter," she says. "It's pretty close to being finished now, but I just sit in front of it and drink tea every morning." 

Taylor says there are some pieces she just can't figure out, which are eventually relegated to her archives and may be brought out later and re­purposed in collage or otherwise. 

"I have over 1,200 pieces in my inventory," she says. "There are too many that I feel good about to get upset about one that I don't."