Cobblestones of Charleston: Taylor Czerwinski

Once again traveling along the cobblestone's of Charleston, we find recent CofC graduate Taylor Czerwinski hard at work reviving the arts and music culture. As the city looses historical businesses and gains (yet another) hotel, Czerwinski is striving to piece together Charleston's rich musical scene with the vast melting pot around her.

I have to say that you are one of the most talented colleagues that I've ever met. Between your studio and musical works you have such a vibrant spirit. What is it about Charleston that you call home?

My goodness Abby! Thank you, Seriously, you're too kind. I've always felt something special for Charleston and the 5 years that I have lived here. It is the sense of community that helps any type of creative thrive I think. Specifically, one of the coolest things about Charleston is how interesting, talented and kind the people are here. My eye contact watercolor series, where I sit with the subject getting to know them, helps me see their vulnerability or true form. Their gaze and slight movements tell a lot about how comfortable they are with me and I am with them. We hold each other up essentially over the course of time. I think this series wouldn't be much fun or conveyed as strongly if the people weren't open to this idea. Music and art were a huge part of growing up for me; however, I believe that without the enforcement of this incredible progressive environment, I would not be who I am today.

Recently, you've started a new project, 9-5 Magazine. Could you describe the nature of this endeavor and what you hope to accomplish?

I've got high hopes for 9-5 Magazine. The goal for the publication is to create a seasonal printed zine. It's mission is to promote all things music: musicians, music venues, operators, and photographers in the Charleston area. An art mag where it's mainly comprised of photography with featured articles, interviews, and great storytelling. Charleston is incredibly interwoven, so why not have a public platform, a physical platform to share with the community. The idea is a collaboration so anyone that has anything music-based adds value. Primarily, it aims to promote ALL kinds of musical people, not just [one genre]. I hope to find those cool metal [heads] and hip-hop masters.

I love that you are straying away from the online viewing access and bringing in something more tangible. Why is it specifically music-based?

The idea of tangible reinforces the beauty and quality of the work. With the over-saturation and bombardment of social media, most postings and photos get overlooked or "swiped past". There is something about investing in print that people like. It's collectable! I chose to make it music-based simply because I want it focused and clean. Also, there isn't a cohesive physical publication to promote the music scene (yet!).

It seems like you're putting your Arts Management degree into good use. Moreover, you have such an aptitude for painting, singing, and photography. Any chance of future showcases of these works?

As for my personal work, I don't have any upcoming shows. Although I have gotten back into film photography and am currently working on a black and white portrait series. My brother, (who is a photographer, musician, and newly experienced painter), has just moved to Charleston and we hope to start collaborating on all platforms. It's really exciting! We have big plans for our art careers.

You've done quite a bit of traveling since graduating from the College of Charleston. How have these adventures guided you?

Oh how I'm thankful I am for all my adventures! For me, I find it rejuvenating for the mind to travel. It's hard for me to be in one place for too long. I start to feel stagnant and less motivated. I believe whole heartedly that your environment inspires your artistry so I like to discover new textures, colors, people, and experiences to bring back with me. Whenever I return from traveling, I always feel refreshed and am reminded that Charleston is a wonderful place to come back home to.

Any advice for current students?

My advice for current students is to meet as many people as you can. It really helps knowing people in the industry that you wish to work in one day.

Who's on your playlist?

My podcast, like my life, couldn't be more all over the place (haha). Currently, I've been listening to Cat Stevens (my main man), Whitney, Fruition, Elephant Revival, and Dangermuffin. (There is always more).

What or who are a few of your inspirations and why?

Inspirations! It's kind of corny, but my brother is probably one of my biggest. He's older so naturally I've followed close behind, but taking my own path of course. We've seem to develop the same taste which is crazy because we weren't close growing up and have only come together in the past few years. As for my favorite non-related artists, Sally Mann is one of my favorite film photographers and Elly Smallwood, one of my favorite painters.

Forgive me for this loaded question, but what does art mean for you?

Art is everywhere. As my brother says, "You can't teach taste". It's a careful collection of perception and environment in which you let in. "Mind you diet" I like to say. Allow only the things that will benefit you and put aside the things that hinder your growth. Photography, painting, music; they are simply tools to help you express your creative ideas. I try to remind myself not to be bound by the idea that I need to master the particular skill I'm working with at the time before trying a new one. Play around, discover new techniques, because while trying to understand something foreign, new ideas come. Art is beautiful in this way I think.