Inner World Of Thoughts And Emotions: Interview With Taylor Bamgbose
Taylor Bamgbose is a self-taught visual artist based in Indianapolis, IN. Also a certified life coach, she works at the intersection of art and mental health. Her vibrant figurative paintings take the audience on a journey of guided self-reflection, inviting the viewer to explore how their thoughts, emotions, beliefs, and behaviors are working under the surface to shape their lived experience. In the four years she’s been working as an artist, she has completed three major bodies of work; Verses, a poetry-inspired collection; State of Mind, which explores the nuances of everyday emotions; and Deal With It, which tackles how we cope with big emotions, for better or worse. Taylor’s work has won several awards, including “Best of Show” at two juried competitions. In 2022, she was awarded the Robert D. Beckmann, Jr. Emerging Artist Fellowship through the Indianapolis Arts Council.
Join us in the conversation with the artist Taylor Bamgbose where she shares her story of being an Artist first and then a Coach and how she found inspiration for her artwork from her experience of working as a Coach, how she started working with such a bright palette, and how she wishes for her audience to understand their inner life.
I’m aware that you have a background as a writer and a life coach. What inspired you to transition into the realm of artistry? How did your journey lead you to pursue a career as an artist?
While I love both writing and coaching, for me, art actually came first. When I was younger, art was my favorite hobby. I grew up drawing portraits and took a couple of general art classes in high school. I began painting at the end of 2018, and quickly fell in love with that medium. I started selling my work in 2019 after getting a couple of show opportunities, and my art business grew from there. When I first started painting, I didn’t have a strong focus on my practice. I was painting for the love of painting, rather than working to communicate anything in particular. After a while, I started connecting my work to other things I was interested in, and I began a series called Verses where I created paintings based on poems that I loved.
Even though I was working as an artist, I still had a passion for psychology and mental health that I wanted to explore, so in 2020 I completed a year-long certification process to become a coach. As I was going through the program and conducting sessions with clients, I found myself incredibly inspired by the topics that were coming up. That’s when I realized that I could bring those ideas and influences into my artwork. Now I create pieces that are rooted in the idea of guided self-reflection. I pair each of my paintings with a block of text that presents an idea or observation for consideration, along with a question or two that the viewer can use to reflect on that idea in their own life. In this way, I am bringing all of my interests—painting, writing, and coaching—into one experience that aims to enhance the viewer’s self-awareness and quality of life.
I hope that everyone that encounters my work can walk away with a deeper and more mindful relationship with themself, whether they end up collecting my art or not. But I’m also gratified to find that my collectors are those that resonate with a particular piece and use it as a tangible, visual reminder in their space of a pattern they want to break, an ideal to strive for, a healthy practice to embody, or a thought they want to carry with them.
Could you discuss the various mediums in which you work? Do you perceive any particular medium as your ‘main’ medium?
I work predominantly with oil and acrylic paint on canvas. Most of my paintings incorporate both mediums. I like to play around with styles in which some elements of the painting look flatter (done with acrylic) and others are more blended and dynamic, which I achieve with oil paint.
As an artist, writer, and coach, my work is unified by one thing—a passion for shining a spotlight
on the inner world of our thoughts and emotions.
I love your series State of Mind. Can you tell me a bit about this series and the intentions behind it?
State of Mind was the first collection I made while in my coaching certification program. I was noticing that at times, my clients, peer coaches, and even myself were operating in life and facing frustrations and challenges without a solid awareness of their own emotions. They were trying to solve problems externally, without taking the time to examine exactly what they were experiencing inside and how that might be driving their behavior.
This realization inspired me to isolate and examine a variety of common emotions and use each piece in the collection to prompt self-reflection for my audience. Where were they seeing these emotions come up? What situations were triggering these feelings? How were they choosing to respond—was it healthy or was there room for growth?
Taylor, has there been any major life event that influenced your work?
There’s not one major life event that has informed my work. Instead, I am influenced by a pattern of curiosities and interests that have been woven through my entire life.
When we face our feelings and give language to our unconscious thoughts, we begin to illuminate the pathway to a more peaceful, grounded, and flourishing life.
I’m fascinated by the vivid color palette displayed in your artwork! What attracts you to incorporating such vibrant hues? What factors inspire your selection of colors?
Most of my color choices are instinctual, rather than planned or strategized. I didn’t even realize how much I was attracted to bright and bold colors until I started painting and there they were on the canvas, staring at me. It’s a comment almost everyone who visits my studio makes: “Wow, it’s so bright in here! I love all the colors.”
I like to make statement pieces—I’m not sure I could stick to a muted palette even if I tried! I also enjoy the opportunity to present hard topics in an approachable way. Some of my pieces bring up challenging emotions or uncover painful truths in the viewer, but that doesn’t mean those pieces need to appear dark or serious on the surface.
Taylor, your artwork carries immense strength. What specific message or meaning do you intend to communicate through your creative pieces?
I think the main message that drives my work is the idea that our inner life (our thoughts, emotions, beliefs, etc) is a powerful determinant of how we experience our external reality—so much more than we may notice or believe. I want to shine a light on the inner world, and use my artwork to help my audience grow in their self-understanding so they can experience a richer, more peaceful, more satisfying life.