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Artist spotlight: Henry Taylor, the artist behind Louis Vuitton’s SS24 collection


It’s been two weeks since Pharrell Williams launched his debut collection for Louis Vuitton Men’s in Paris, but we still can’t get our heads out of the distinctive reimagined world of “LVovers” by the musician-turned-artistic director. 


With what’s presented at Paris’ Pont-Neuf bridge, fans and fashion lovers may have noticed another name dazzling in the spotlight: Artist Henry Taylor, whose miniatures have appeared on the collection’s suits, denim, bags, and accessories.


Who is Henry Taylor?

Born in 1958 and raised in California, the 65-year-old African American Henry Taylor first studied journalism, anthropology, and set design at Oxnard College in his early 20s. Around the same time, he also worked as a hospital psychiatric technician. 


With the nature of the hospital he worked in and the unique needs of the patients there, he developed a knack for interacting and making human connections. 


During his time at the hospital, he started creating portraits for the patients before receiving formal art education at the California Institute of the Arts and receiving his Bachelor of Fine Art in 1995.


Taylor’s style and subjects in his artworks

Taylor is best known for his practices in acrylic paintings, mixed media sculptures, and installations. He’s also been emphasizing portraiture with his creations, and his previous portraits have appeared in a variety of media such as cigarette packs, suitcases, bottles, and stretched canvases.


As Taylor values personal experiences and the personal connections he encounters in life, the subjects in his portraits are usually faces in his immediate community with the likes of friends, family, neighbors, fellow artists, heroes of black history, victims of police violence, and the homeless.


One of his most famous paintings, Ancestors of Genghis Khan with Black Man on Horse painted between 2015 and 2017, chronicles the murder of his grandfather in East Texas in 1933. The painting works as an emotional, defiant, and empathetic portrait of blackness with the metaphor behind and richness of color on the surface. The coffin and patches of cotton painted are in the memoir of how a black man consciously refused to comply with the unfairness during the Great Depression.


Involvement in fashion

With Louis Vuitton’s Spring/Summer 2024 collection, Taylor’s name has appeared in several fashion headlines alongside Williams. But this isn’t the first time fashion has encountered Taylor’s art.


In 2019, he collaborated with a French label, Études, employing his large-scale paintings into a collection, “Études x Henry Taylor.”


And in 2020, he collaborated with Louis Vuitton and reimagined his version of the brand’s Capucines bag using his 2017 portrait of an African American artist and founder of L.A.’s Underground Museum, A Young Master of the late Noah Davis.


2023 as a successful year

To Taylor, the first half of 2023 has been fruitful. Presented at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, Taylor had his first museum retrospective, “Henry Taylor: B Side,” from November 2022 to April 2023. The same exhibition will be moved to The Whitney Museum of American Art later this year in October.


Prior to the showcase of the Louis Vuitton collection in May, at a Sotheby’s contemporary art auction, Taylor broke his auction record with his 2007 painting, From Congo to the Capital, and black again, for US$2.48 million, doubling its estimated price.


Taylor is currently on a residency program with Hauser & Wirth in Paris for a month from June to July. The works created will be on view at the first exhibition of the gallery’s new Paris space on October 14 before the opening of Paris+ par Art Basel.