How Taylor Swift's Albums Inspired My Art: An 11-Day Creative Challenge

How Taylor Swift's Albums Inspired My Art: An 11-Day Creative Challenge

Jun 13, 2024Jessica Slack

As a passionate artist and dedicated Swiftie, Taylor Swift's music has always been a source of inspiration for my artwork. Her storytelling, emotions, and the rich tapestry of her lyrics have guided my creative process in countless ways. With The Eras Tour coming to Liverpool, I embarked on a unique challenge: creating a painting every day for 11 days, each inspired by a different Taylor Swift album. This journey not only pushed my artistic boundaries but also deepened my connection to her music. Here's a glimpse into the paintings I created during the challenge; 

Day 1: Taylor Swift (Debut)

Taylor's debut album is a youthful exploration of her early experiences, wrapped in lush greenery and country vibes. Inspired by tracks like 'Teardrops on My Guitar' and 'Our Song', my first painting aimed to capture the innocence and longing of young love amidst a natural, fresh backdrop. I used vibrant colours inspired by nature and fluid brushstrokes to convey tender emotions, incorporating elements of lush landscapes, rolling hills, and the tranquility of a moonlit lake. The lyric 'the moon like a spotlight on the lake' from Tim McGraw became a focal point for the painting which inspired me to incorporate pearlescent pigments into the piece, casting a shimmering veil over the painting. 

Day 2: Fearless

Back in my teenage years, 'Fearless' became my own personal anthem of courage, bravery and youth and it was a true joy to paint this piece which took me right back to my year 9 days of performing these songs in my bedroom. 'Love Story' and 'The Best Day' influenced my use of bold, sweeping strokes and vibrant yellows and golds whilst 'The Best Day' provided a focal point of inspiration for this painting. The lyric 'look now, the sky is gold' inspired my use of warm, golden hues. This painting radiates a sense of joy, nostalgia, and familial love, capturing the essence of cherished memories and the fearless spirit of stepping into the unknown with an open heart.

Day 3: Speak Now

The dramatic storytelling within Taylor Swift's third album 'Speak Now', inspired a vibrant purple painting rich in contrasts and vivid marks. The aesthetic synonymous with the album guided my palette choices, blending deep purples, lilacs, blues and magentas with hints of silver. The painting depicted a whirlwind of emotions, reflecting the album's themes of regret, wonder, and the complexity of relationships and the youthful wonder that the album explores. 

Day 4: Red

'Red' is a passionate, fiery exploration of intense emotions. Influenced heavily by 'All Too Well' (the 10 minute version), I used bold reds and contrasting black and white to create a sense of tumult and intensity. The painting was a visual representation of love, heartbreak, and the turbulent highs and lows that come with them. Flecks of white against the vivid reds and maroons capture the lyric 'you and I fell like an early spring snow' whilst 'autumn leaves falling down like pieces into place' inspired the brushstrokes that capture falling autumnal leaves. 

Day 5: 1989

The synth-pop brilliance of '1989' called for a bright, cheerful and energetic approach. Tracks like 'Blank Space', 'Style' and 'Clean' inspired a vibrant, colourful blue painting with reminiscent of a crystal blue sky and ocean waters in the summer. sunshine This painting celebrates reinvention, freedom, and the exuberant joy of finding yourself in bustling city of New York City! Lyrics like 'the flowers that we'd grown together died of thirst', 'cherry lips, crystal skies' and 'clear blue waters, high tide, cam and brought you in' were a great source of inspiration for this piece alongside the synonymous beachy and liberating vibes of the album. 

Day 6: Reputation

'Reputation' is Taylor Swift's darkest and edgiest album and that's what I wanted to capture within this painting. Reputation is synonymous with a black and white colour palette and of course, metaphorical snakes that adorn the lyrics and visual imagery of the album, tour and music videos from the Reputation era. The painting is largely black and green accented with hints of white whilst the marks and shapes within the painting reflect a snaking, slithering pattern. Overall, this painting represents themes of resilience and transformation. 

Day 7: Lover

The dreamy, romantic essence of 'Lover' inspired a painting filled with pastel rainbow hues and soft, swirling patterns. Tracks like 'Lover', 'Daylight' and 'You Need To Calm Down' guided the creation of a piece that felt whimsical and tender, embodying the warmth and affection of the album. On a personal note, 'Lover' was our first dance at our wedding earlier this year so capturing the pure bliss, romance and joy of the day was one of my aims with this painting. I am so pleased with the outcome! 

Day 8: Folklore

'Folklore' is an introspective, narrative-driven album written in lockdown 2020. I truly wanted this painting to capture the greyscale grounded feel of the album and was particularly inspired by tracks like 'The Lakes', 'Mirrorball', 'August' and 'My Tears Ricochet'. Conceptually, this abstract painting captures the trees, lakes and natural landscape viewed from behind a mirrorball and evokes a feeling of nostalgia and storytelling. This piece has a quiet, contemplative quality, much like the album itself. On an artistic level, this piece was challenging for me as I don't often work in greyscale (I am known for my use of bright, bold colour!) so it was a truly refreshing and unique experience and I love this painting. 

Day 9: Evermore

Continuing the folk-inspired theme, 'Evermore' led to a painting that felt like a natural extension of 'Folklore' but offers more bold, confident and rich visual inspiration. With influences from 'Willow' and 'Champagne Problems' but mostly 'Marjorie' I used rich, earthy colours and tons of natural textures to create a rich, reflective artwork that captured the album's haunting autumnal beauty. 

Day 10: Midnights

'Midnights' is a blend of introspection and dreamy pop that leads to incredible artistic inspiration. Inspired by tracks like 'Bejewelled', 'Midnight Rain' and 'Maroon' I used deep violets, cobalts, maroons and shimmering silver and pink to create a painting that felt both ethereal and grounded. This abstract painting represents the culmination of emotions that we go through as humans and I absolutely love this painting, it strikes the perfect balance between joy, happiness and inward turmoil. 

Day 11: The Tortured Poets Department

The final piece of my challenge was inspired by Taylor Swift's 'The Tortured Poets Department' (TTPD). This album, influenced heavily by poetry and hyperbolic melancholy, is her saddest piece of work. The painting was inspired by the confusion and angst described in the album and was created in black, white, and grey, featuring handwritten messages that echoed the album's deeply personal and reflective lyrics. The stark contrasts and somber tones captured the essence of the album's themes of sorrow, introspection, and the artist's struggle. 


As The Tortured Poets Department was a double album, it was only right for me to launch a double painting realise! The second piece from TTPD was largely inspired by the abundance of ocean references that Taylor Swift uses within the album. Lyrics such as 'building up like waves, crashing over my grave' and 'or the ocean rocks, crashing into him tonight' heavily inspired this painting and capture the liberating dane of ocean waves crashing. 

This 11-day challenge was not just an artistic endeavour but a personal journey through Taylor Swift's musical eras. Each painting was a testament to the power of music to inspire and transform. As The Eras Tour arrives in Liverpool, I feel a profound connection to these albums and the art they inspired. Taylor Swift’s music has not only shaped my artistic vision but also enriched my creative spirit and I am so honoured to have been able to create paintings that I love, inspired by my favourite music!  

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