artwork

T-Shirt Tuesday – November 5 Edition

Drawing more guitars all the time, in preparation for the upcoming calendar. In the meantime, here’s another shirt – a Fender Jazzmaster, from the 60s:

Jazzmaster_TShirt

And of course you can buy it from my Redbubble store .


Continuing with the electric guitar theme:

And you can buy this and other shirts in my .


Just a quick note: we’re in the process of sorting details for the next show, entitled “Ka-Pow!: The Age of Heroes”. It’s a tribute to superheroes, which, when I was a little kid, were my main reason for learning to draw.

Here’s a little sneak preview:

Stay tuned.


You have seen my 604 skull shirts. They started life as a tattoo design until my buddy Scott suggested putting the art on shirts. Since then quite a few Vancouverites have bought one of these:

Then my brother and I were chatting one night and he suggested doing shirts for people in the Maritimes (AKA, where I was born and raised). Here they are:

You can find ‘em here in my .


The Official Ocean Rain Recap

On Sunday, May 12th, I had the distinct pleasure of holding my sixth art show. This one broke new ground in terms of venue (the HiVE ), timing and structure. And if audience reactions are any indication, in terms of the art itself.

I mixed things up some this time around – metalflake paintings without the border treatment I usually employ, less square-format pieces than usual, size and shapes I don’t usually work in. Plus a more multi-layered approach to glazing and iridescents.

And the subject really seemed to strike a chord with people.

A few visual highlights:

Buttons courtesy of Annie Friesen and Dottie’s Buttons .

Some of the fine people who showed up.

The long-distance traveler award goes to Jaime, who came over from Vancouver Island for the show.

Team Sizzr represents.

Mesmerized.

Oops. Not Aaron.

In which I demonstrate a narwhal/unicorn swordfight.

All the support in the world.

Very serious discussion.
So I’m calling this another one for the victory column. I had an amazing day. Every time we put on another show, there’s less stress to deal with, and the process gets more streamlined.

__________________________________

A very special thank-you to:

Tess McCann , who put the pieces together.

John Watson , who documented the process.

Lyndsey MacEwen , who stepped up to bat.

Jaime Lee Purgavie , who believed.

Annie Friesen , who buttoned it all up.

Mike Watson , who drove the getaway car.

Lindsay Bayne , who wisely said “narwhal!”

Cindy McShane, Karina Halle, Kate MacDonald , and Lyndsey Locke , who bought the paintings.

Aaron Cruikshank, Eve Rickert, Margarete Hernandez , and Alan Cheung from the HiVE, who gave me the opportunity.

Heather Prost, Jess Couture, Meghan Kilner, Kyle Reid, Jenn Derksen, Steve Kinsey, Scott Graham, Ian McKinnon, Katie Moran, Jacquie Clarke, Cheryl Cheeks, Kitty Nichols , and Mike C. , who kept the faith.

Tom Odell and Lucy Schwartz , who provided the musical portion of the (very) exclusive afterparty.

Paul Keelan , who supplied my ticket.

Christy McNeil, Julia Gaetz , and Amanda West , who all made valiant efforts.

Jack Daniel , for service above and beyond the call of duty.

(Photos courtesy of John Watson and Imagemaker Photographic Studio .)


T-Shirt Tuesday – Manta Ray Edition

First off, thanks to everybody for their patience regarding the Ocean Rain show. We’ve tentatively settled on a date for the opening: Sunday, May 12, and we hope to make the official announcement any day now, once the last few details have been sorted.

And secondly, it’s Tuesday again, so it’s time for a new shirt:

For sale in my RedBubble store .


T-Shirt Tuesday – Narwhal Edition

Sensing a lot of pro-narwhal sentiment lately, I decided to include one in the Ocean Rain show (more on this very soon, trust me). And of course, I figured it should be a shirt, too:

You can find it here in my RedBubble store .


T-Shirt Tuesday – Humpback Whale Edition

Another Tuesday, another t-shirt. The hardest thing about this week’s post is deciding which new shirt to release; I actually have a bit of a backlog at the moment.

This week’s apparel:

As always, this can be found in my RedBubble store .


And then it was April.

Here we are, a quarter of the year already done. The first big show of 2013 is over (and a damn successful one it was), and two more are in the works. Longterm strategies are being developed, and new venues and opportunities being explored.

Creatively I feel incredibly positive. The ideas just won’t stop coming, I’m happier with my drawing skills than ever before, and I keep thinking of new variations on my metalflake technique. This in particular is pleasing, given that I’ve finished 102 of these paintings and currently have another 17 in the works (obviously I don’t ever want this to turn into some sort of assembly-line process; frankly I think that having assistants do the bulk of your work for you borders on the fraudulent).

With the Hot Pink show and the Christmas Metalflake series, I played around with the technique, sometimes out of necessity, and other times just out of curiosity. I did several paintings with pulverized Christmas balls worked into the strata for texture and reflectivity. And the other day it occurred to me that I could also use gold leaf in my backgrounds.

This experiment turned out even better than I’d anticipated. And it got me thinking about some other new possibilities.

A few specifics, then, before the conversation takes a turn for the personal. The Ocean Rain show, which you’ve already seen hints of, is progressing nicely. Expect an announcement regarding this very soon – we’re hoping for an early May launch date.

The show after that will most likely use superheroes and science fiction as its launching point.

After that I’d like to do something with an automotive theme, and of course we’ll be doing something Christmassy as well, in the fall (truth be told, we’ve probably got ideas for a dozen shows). Also in the fall, we’ll be releasing a book and/or calendar of T-Rex illustrations. Three of them are done already, and the Agent and I have been brainstorming on lots more.

And by this time next year I want to have my work in galleries.

So, enough business. Let’s talk about what else has been going on. Last year, as documented again and again (and AGAIN ), felt like some sort of trial to me. One trauma after another, month in, month out. By November I was a bit of a mess.

I can’t pinpoint any one specific moment when the game changed (unlike, say, in 2011), but a lot of minor victories added up to help pull me out of my funk.

And this process continued through January and February, to the point where I finally feel like I’ve gotten my groove back (I won’t lie; I was extremely worried about that, and for a long, long time). Friends and family have done their part to help, chance encounters have led to new opportunities… and inspiration? Inspiration is EVERYWHERE . I’m on fire creatively.

I’m back , baby.

Bret Taylor
Vancouver, BC
April, 2013.


T-Shirt Tuesday – Octopus Edition

Hey there. As you may have noticed, weekly t-shirt releases were on hiatus for awhile as we prepped for (and recovered from) Hot Pink .

But now we’re rebooting the t-shirt release program, starting with this octopus from the upcoming Ocean Rain show (more on this at a later date):

You can buy this lovely cephalopod right here in my Redbubble store .

Cheers.


Hot Pink Recap

Let me tell you the story of one amazing day. A lifetime ago (or a very short while, depending on your perspective), I had my very first solo art show.

I was half-assing my way through organizing the show till Tess McCann stepped in to offer her assistance. I would mark that as the most significant turning point in my art career to date (and of course, Tess is now my agent).

From there it’s been… I dunno, would it sound pretentious if I said it “a journey of self-discovery” ?

Anyway.

We’ve spent the last year and a half experimenting and learning about art shows and art marketing, and we’ve met some incredible people along the way. And all the things we’ve learned got applied to the latest extravaganza, Hot Pink .

Now, Hot Pink has its roots in two sources: a suggestion from Alex Stewart last summer that we do a pin-up girl show together, and a request from Tess the summer before for a hot pink painting of a dancer.

Everything just gelled from there. Putting this show together was almost effortless, apart from the labour in actually creating the art itself. Many people stepped in to help promote the show, offer suggestions and their encouragement, and lend a hand in many ways.

But wait . I’m getting ahead of myself here.

Let’s backtrack. Friday night, Feb. 22. Team Hot Pink gathered at imagemaker photographic studio to hang the show. I wore my toolbelt, because I’m told it makes me more popular with the ladies:

Alex brought along some stunning pieces. I’d been following their progress for months via social media, but it was my first time seeing most of them in the flesh.

(I brought along a few pieces of my own, of course.)

And in no time at all the entire show was hung, the pizza eaten, and beers drank. Waking up to sunshine the next morning was a nice omen.

And just like that, the Big Day was upon us:

You may have noticed the beautiful Hot Pink button in that last pic. It comes courtesy of Annie Friesen, the proprietor of Dottie’s Buttons . In addition to that button, Annie is now selling others that feature my artwork and Alex’s. We’re pretty pleased to have her on the team.

In addition we had a major contribution from Candice Roach’s Love Your Cake business. Another great local company run by a good friend. And her cakes are mindblowing to see (or to eat, for that matter).

My latest paintings were a hit. Several of them were sold before the show even happened. Here are the ones I’m particularly proud of:

Aside: Agent McCann and I also donated a painting to a fundraiser by our friends at the HiVE called An Evening of Debauchery . Full of inappropriate dirty jokes, politically-incorrect comedians, burlesque performers and an artist with a… unique approach to painting, the event was held to raise money for a non-profit business incubator. In the end the painting went to Nelu Oncel, who was patient enough to let us keep the painting for a few more days so it could still be in Hot Pink.

Alex and I also collaborated on two pieces, which is probably the creative highlight of my year so far. I started one piece that he finished, and vice versa. An incredible experience, and one I learned a lot from. Hopefully there’ll be more joint efforts from us in the future.

And from there, things just… rolled . Many excellent friends showed up, both old and new. These pics should give you an idea of how it went:

022_hotpink1 023_439bf21e7ed011e283d722000a1f99fc_7 016_f74f2467eeb11e2a94522000a1fbc56_7

At midnight we wrapped things up, exhausted. Took the party to several other locales, and in the AM we were back to tear everything down. By that afternoon you’d never know there’d even been a show.

So thanks to John Carter, Sarah Merris, Kimli Welsh, Steve Kinsey, Jeremy Ball, Amanda West, Jamie Presley and Meghan Low, Vicky Hames, Meghan Kilner, George Smeltzer and Lori Kittelberg, John Bell, John Watson, Alex Stewart, Jon Crewe, Jaime Lee Purgavie, Aimee Vuilleumier, Lyndsey McEwen, August Wiled, Chantal Michaud, everyone who wore pink to support the cause, and the incomparable Tess McCann, who once again deserves a huge round of applause for everything she’s done for me.

Photos courtesy of John Watson, Tess McCann, Alex Stewart, Heather Prost, Cathy Browne, Christy McNeil, Scott Graham, and Bret Taylor.


Available.

First off, you may have noticed the lack of a report on the Hot Pink show. Fear not; it’s happening. It’s just been.. delayed a little while I recover. Further to that, though, this particular handful of paintings is still available for purchase:

Should something here catch your eye, please contact my agent, the lovely and talented Tess McCann , and she can arrange things for you.

Thanks,
Bret Taylor
Vancouver, BC
March 2013


Hot Pink – the Latest.

Pretty caught up in art-show excitement these days. So much so that I almost forgot about the blog.

But many amazing things are happening. Paintings are already selling, buttons have arrived, a new shirt is almost ready, sketches are being posed for, greeting cards are available, and the Hot Pink Peeler Mix playlist is nearly finished. All sorts of craziness, and definitely of the good variety.

This art-show business does actually get easier. For a long time I didn’t think that would ever happen.

Mind you, I’ve got a team behind me now, and their support and enthusiasm are pretty infectious (and it’s not just my show this time around). In fact, we’re meeting on the weekend to talk over some hush-hush, ultra-top-secret business. Just wait till you see the results. Oh, man…

Anyway, people are stepping up to bat and generally being excellent human beings. I could rave about that for hours, or about how beautiful women are keeping me informed as to what shoes and underwear (pink and/or black, obviously) they’ve bought for the show. But instead I’ll just treat you to another slideshow:

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Nine days to the big show. Anybody else as pumped for this as I am?


T-Shirt Thursday, Round 25

Continuing with last week’s pin-up girl theme:

This and the shirts from round 24, of course, tie in with my upcoming Hot Pink art show.

And you can find this one here in my RedBubble store .


Without giving any secrets away, I have a new art show happening very soon. And as a teaser, I’m releasing these t-shirts:

You can purchase them .


And… that’s another year almost put to bed. Truth be told, it’s one I’ll be glad to see the ass end of (I briefly considered titling this post “Kiss My Ass 2012″ ).

Definitely a BIG year for me, by any standard, and one of constant change. When we went to bed in the wee hours of January 1st, I had pretty concrete, definite ideas of where 2012 would go. For better or worse, though, very few of those ideas came to fruition.

It’s interesting to view it in comparison with the previous year. 2011 started badly, marked with illness and drama. But every month after that was better than the preceding one, culminating in December – which, despite certain difficulties, was easily the happiest month of my entire life.

Which only made January of 2012 even shittier in comparison, as everything bottomed out on me at once.

By the time that month was over, everything that had been good about December was gone.

And I was done.

Each of the next three months had some further catastrophic event to add to the trauma. But fortunately, lots of work was happening, and my creativity never waned. So I kept painting, kept working, and kept my head above water.

Since then it’s been up and down.

And up.

And down.

It’s only in the last month or so that things feel like they’re coming together again, and my bruised ego finally put in an appearance again. So let’s focus on that, shall we? Who had the most positive, supportive impact on my life in December?

The roll call, in no particular order:

My family, Cynthia Griffiths, Jocelyn Aspa, Greg Lexiphanic, Brendan Moran, Lori Kittelberg, Pardeep, Ceci Graber, Terry Burns, Louise Perrin, Allison Vincent, Donna-Jay Crowe, Donna Jaggard & Dan Udey, Christine Warner, Lindsay Bayne, Alex Stewart, Dan Parker, Candice Roach, Bryce Pugh, Jewel Staite, Mike Watson, John Watson, George Smeltzer, Amanda West, Jaime Lee Purgavie, Rochele Potter, Andrea Waters, Geoff Seymour, Jennifer Juniper, Lyndsey MacEwen, Cathy Browne, Cindy McShane, Mila Pasco, Felice Lam, Chantal Michaud, Geoff Gauthier, Bon Bahar, Annie Friesen, Lynn McIlwee, Tawna Taylor, Jenn Ashton, Lisa Jarvis, Jackie Teel, Kevin Meyers, Jonny Warkentin, August Wiled, Nicola Proctor, and Victoria Pattison Denault.

I thank you one and all.

Disclaimer: if I missed you, you have my sincerest apologies. And I’ll keep editing names in as they occur to me.


Yes, we took a week off from T-Shirt Thursday last week. We were in dire need of rest.

(Okay, we just forgot, actually. Also, we were drinking. Don’t judge us.)

Anyway, this week we’re back on track with a shirt for everybody who loves Twitter and Instagram hashtags:

#shirt_shirt

And you can buy it right here, in our .

Also, we’ll be back with more next week, and we’ll stop referring to ourselves in the royal we.


I’ve mentioned this before, but I picked up a nice little sketchbook from Zequenz back in the spring, and I take it with me whenever possible. I like documenting simple, cool little things when I’m visiting friends, or in a restaurant, etc. It’s become a visual diary to mark little events (and big ones too, I guess). Very nice smooth-finish paper in it, and the book will fold flat when you open it, which is nice for both drawing and scanning.

It also keeps me drawing on a regular basis, which is crucial. I’ve found over the past couple months that it’s really helped crystallize my drawing style. This actually caught me by surprise, because I’ve never really tried to find a specific style.

And yet, it seems to be happening, and it feels damn good.

Not long ago we were barbecuing at a friend’s place, and I saw a wooden giraffe that I just had to draw:

Giraffe

I definitely want to pursue more art along these lines.

And then just last week I was hanging with some other friends, watching Misfits on Netflix and pigging out on Wendy’s. At some point I looked around for something to draw, and saw an Imperial Stormtrooper helmet. These are pretty ornate pieces of design work, so there were some minor challenges to drawing one.

But I like how this turned out, and it was probably only 10-15 minutes’ work:

Stormtrooper

More to come in the future.


With Christmas almost upon us and the Metalflake Christmas event underway, it just seemed right to release Christmas-penguin shirts this week:

Penguin_Shirt_W Penguin_Shirt_K

You can find them here with .

Any thoughts on a name for the little guy?


Dedicated to the people who know exactly what I mean:

And you can buy it right here in my .


In keeping with the spirit of the season, here’s a new Santa shirt for you (or y’know, you could always give it to somebody else as a present, too):

And as always, it’s in my .


Unless you’re a newcomer to this site, you probably know that I recently completed a thousand consecutive days of art. Every one of those days, from January 1/2010 – October 1/2012, I drew and/or painted, without fail.

One thousand days.

As time went on, the numbers actually began to mean less and less to me. Because it was really about the journey, of course. About what I learned, where I went, how I changed.

The past few years have been challenging, to say the least. Apart from the financial hardships of the recession and its aftermath, one thing I’ve been struggling with is the lack of structure in my life (I’m a freelancer, by the way). So the added benefits to this extended art experiment are just that – structure, purpose, direction.

For a long time people were asking me what I planned to do on the final day. I considered several options, because I wanted to do something momentous. But in the end these options fell through, so I decided that the best course of action would be…

… Business as Usual.

After all, I had a show to prepare for. Paintings to finish, logistics to be sorted out, all sorts of promotional work to do. Putting on an art show is no small task.

So when I got up that morning, I did a quick little sketch, just in case:

That way if the sun exploded or we got invaded by zombies, at least I could still say I reached the 1000th day.

(Fortunately they didn’t. But hey, you never know.)

After that it was back to the metalflake dinosaur paintings. Since my T-Rex sketch from back in February was the central image in my upcoming show, I decided that finishing one of those pieces would be my best bet. And that just seemed fitting – it tied in with the show, with my calendar, and any number of other peripheral art ventures. Plus it was inspired in the first place by the person who’s made the biggest mark in my life during the Project – my Agent and former Muse.

So there you have it. One thousand days. I painted and drew a lot, I learned a lot, I sweated and bled, and I’m still standing.

Oh, and one more thing: I’m already working an art book based on the experience. Watch this space for further details.


Welcome back, and thanks for joining us. It’s been a few days since the Dinosaur Show – time spent recovering and regrouping, for the most part. It seems that the bigger these events get, the more time it takes to bounce back.

And this was definitely a BIG event.

Earth-shaking, even.

The excitement all started Friday night, with a trip to imagemaker photographic studio to hang the show. This is part of the process that I always stress needlessly about, as it usually goes off without much of a hitch. In this particular case, the positioning and hanging of the paintings was a breeze; it was just the peripherals (a display for posters and calendars, for instance) that raised questions.

That night I slept well, which has never happened the night before a show till now. Come to think of it, I slept pretty well for most of the preceeding two weeks.

In the morning I was up early, running last-minute errands in the rain. We were at the studio doing last-minute setup by 1:00PM…

… and then it was showtime. My friend Cindy, who moved here recently from Ontario, snapped up the medium-sized T-Rex almost immediately after we opened the doors. Technically that was the second sale of the show, though, because John from HogShack had already spoken for one of the struttin’ T-Rex paintings.

Over the next six hours lots of people came in, often with young dinosaur fans in tow. Talked to old friends, met some people I’d previously only talked to online, sold a few paintings, and all in all had a great afternoon.

And then it was 8:00. The afterparty started.

The Agent was outfitted in a custom T-Rex top, and we also had hot pink T-Rex buttons made:

The people who got into the dinosaur theme the most, though, were Candice Roach and Danny Parker. Candice made a cake especially for the show, and Dan brought not only a T-Rex hat, but a full-on dinosaur COSTUME :

I kept thinking we’d hit the point where people were more focused on the party than the art, but then, miraculously, a few more paintings would sell. The final tally: 14 paintings sold out of a possible 17.

Did I mention there were drinks? Cake? Sandwiches and pumpkin pie cheesecake that my friend Melissa Jones so thoughtfully contributed? That people came from all over the place just for the show?

I’ve gotta say, the show of support never gets old.

Things wrapped up pretty quickly around 1:00AM. The day was done, the show a success.

Thanks, first of all, to the people who bought my paintings, posters and prints: John Lim Hing, Cindy McShane, Nic & Todd Cruickshank, Lori Kittelberg and George Smeltzer, Lindsay Bayne, Christine Warner, Geoff Gauthier, Irving Lau, Mark Crater, Candice Roach, Krista Lee, Amanda West, Donna Jay-Crowe, and all the people who bought buttons.

These lovely people couldn’t make the show (which will always happen) but were still kind enough to send along apologies and/or encouragement anyway: Chantal Michaud, Kate MacDonald, Lynn McIlwee, Jackie McCaughan, Adam & Corinna Carlson, Lyndsey MacEwen, Jewel Staite, Crystal Witty, Ceci Graber, Erin Kyle, and Jeff Hornby.

And of course, how could I forget my agent, Tess McCann? We’ve been through a lot together in the 14 months since we met, and this show actually started with her posting T-Rex cartoons on her Facebook wall in the early part of 2012. Thanks for everything, Tess. At the risk of repeating myself, this wouldn’t even be possible without your help.

(Photos courtesy of Danny Parker, Ned Tobin, Amanda West, Lindsay Bayne, Krista Lee, John Lim Hing, and John Watson.)


Thanks.

Brothers and sisters, these are strange and portentous times. An entire string of anniversaries, both artistic and (much) more personal, is sweeping by as we speak. And while I’m generally not one to dwell on the past, looking back can definitely be instructive.

Not that I’d want to live there. But F. Scott said it well:

So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.

On Friday afternoon I realized it was the anniversary of the day I hung the artwork for my first solo show. What a difference a year makes. Going into that first show I barely had a clue what I was doing – just flying by the seat of my pants, really. Since then there’ve been some monumental gains, and a catastrophic loss or two. But we soldier on, don’t we?

And Sunday (Oct. 7th) was the anniversary of the itself. This might be a good time to have a quick look at these as well, though they’re more of a sidebar or a footnote to today’s musings. Go ahead, I’ll wait right here.

An unbelievable event for me; I’ve never experienced anything quite like it, before or since. The things people did for me, the way they helped out, was overwhelming. Even the little things, like the fact that there was a fresh drink in my hand practically before I even finished the previous one (my Lovely Assistant had some serious ninja skills). I felt like the king of the world.

I remember, at one point, looking around and seeing these people who’d never met before, talking and laughing and drinking, and realizing that it was my art had brought them together. That was incredibly moving.

After the show, a couple very important people came back to my place for more cocktails and the Most Inappropriate High-Five of All Time. The following day was a photo shoot for one of my friend Karina’s books. Sometimes I look back at photos from that weekend and I wonder what happened to that guy. He certainly had no idea of what life had in store for him over the coming months. So many things went wrong, it felt like I was living in a country song.

Not that it was all doom and gloom, of course. Some pretty goddamn incredible things happened to me, too. I’ve hit my stride as an artist. I’ve got a clear vision of where I want to go from here, and what I want to do. My heart was touched by people too numerous to mention – people who were there for me at the darkest times, people who made me feel like a rockstar, people who reached out, people who absolutely embraced my art.

I put on two more shows, created 40 new paintings (and 15 more are nearing completion) and countless drawings, published a calendar, was hit by a truck, had my heart broken, found support from unexpected corners, worked my ass off, completed a thousand consecutive days of art, made cool new friends from all over the world, reconnected with old ones, lost a couple people who were very important to me, burned a bridge or two, shed a little blood and no small amount of tears, succeeded, failed, lost 25 pounds, got new tattoos, learned a lot about muses…

… but most of all? I survived .

Now I’m mere days away from my biggest show yet . Plus it’s Thanksgiving. If you can join us on the 13th, we’d love to have you. And if you’ve moved me over the past year, if you’ve touched me, if you’ve inspired me, if you’ve shared my victories – then I thank you. You’re the reason I do this.

Bret Taylor
Vancouver, BC
October 8/2012


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