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Get to Know | Joni Taylor

Joni Taylor (BFA 2014, MFA 2017) is an artist, illustrator and writer. Her work is passionate about the plight of the underdog (she says “it takes one to know one”). Joni’s subjects are those who are unknown and unseen yet have incredible amounts to offer. From feminism to ageism and global warming, Joni feels strongly about setting the record straight — even if it’s just in her own mind. Her work is imbued with her own hyperbolic sense of what’s funny and what’s possible to get away with. To see more of Joni’s work, you can follow her on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook or visit her website.

Who are you and what do you do?

My name is Joni Taylor and I am an illustrator and educator working in comics, graphic novels, zines, children’s books, sculptural illustration and private and commercial illustration.

What are you excited about in your practice right now?

I’m excited about two works at the moment:

  1. a series of autobiographical comics called, Observations of a Feminist, which I have written and illustrated. I’ve self-published three volumes and am currently working on Volume four. These tongue-in-check stories are observations from my daily life as an aging feminist.
  2. The other work I’m excited about is illustrations I created for an advertising campaign for Fresh Slice Pizza. The illustrations are popping up all over the Lower Mainland on bus stop shelters and flyers. It’s surreal to get one of my illustrations in the mail.
What is your role at Emily Carr University?

I’m the Coordinator of Student Recruitment by day and a CS instructor by night – sort of like a caped-crusader.

Image courtesy of Joni Taylor
Why did you choose to work at Emily Carr University?

I completed my BFA and MFA at Emily Carr and got my first job here as a student monitor during my undergrad. It evolved into working in the Student Services Offices which enabled me to earn money while a grad student. I love the creative atmosphere and working with like-minded artists.

What advice do you have for alumni looking to work at Emily Carr?

Apply to a position that interests you even if you feel you are not qualified. Having had the experience as an ECU student is great experience to add to your resume. ECU supports you in your creative practice through interviews like this one and professional development opportunities. For example, I have received support to exhibit at comic festivals and attend a month-long residency in Spain last summer where I was able to work on my graphic novel.

How did your education shape your career?

My education opened doors within the professional and academic artistic community. I have received illustration contracts and offers through the Alumni website and the Career + Professional Development’s website. It has informed my teaching practice and my world view and has expanded the areas I’m eligible to work in.

Image courtesy of Joni Taylor
Name one thing in your practice that you can’t do without?

I cannot do without my Molotow Markers.

Were there any professors or classes that influenced you?

Durwin Talon was an illustration instructor in my 2nd and 3rd year of my undergrad degree who was passionate and extremely knowledgeable about the history, modes and methods of illustration. One Summer, he took a group from my class to NY City where we visited illustrators in their private studios and Art Directors of publications (like the NY Times) who reviewed our portfolios – very generative indeed. Durwin encouraged me in my practice which spurred a belief in my artistic voice.

What advice do you pass on to students through your role at Emily Carr?

I talk to students about their portfolios and encourage them to explore a diverse range of art making techniques and materials. I encourage them to think about the things that concern them and to create work from that place and therefore, follow their passions.

Image courtesy of Joni Taylor
What advice do you have for new graduates or incoming foundation students?

When you first graduate there is a tendency to stop making art because of fatigue. I would encourage new graduates to take some time to rest, but not too long. Continue to express yourself through your artwork and look for opportunities to earn a living through your art, doing what you’re passionate about. Stay or keep connected to Emily Carr through the Career + Professional Development Office and the Alumni Office for possible career opportunities and support.

How has your role at Emily Carr impacted your own practice?

I have received tremendous support through Emily Carr’s Professional Development Programs for its employees. This has greatly impacted my art practice. I was able to attend a month-long residency in Spain last summer thanks to their generous PD Program.

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