“Things are almost bad enough to have a party.”
~ Judd Nelson, The Billionaire Boys’ Club
I dunno about you, but I am having the strangest damn year. As you may know, I work as both an artist and a graphic designer, and having the two revenue streams is really helpful in these dark and troubled times.
This year, though, everything seems to be… off.
Art is selling much better than usual, and January is particular was much busier than in any previous year. Which is weird, but definitely good – because graphic design work has been non-existent (and that’s coming on the heels of a year as financially and emotionally ruinous as 2016).
My solution to such issues is probably obvious by now: when in doubt, throw an art sale. Then I can clear some much-needed space out, AND help pay the rent.
Speaking of which, I’ve been doing 2-day flash sales over the past week. Responses have been good, so I decided on Friday to cap it all off with a BIG sale. Have a look below at the latest offerings. There might just be something there you want, and of course there’s the added bonus of supporting local art (or if you’re not in Vancouver, think “independent art” instead).
And by all means, tell your friends. Spread the word. Help a brother out.
Also, I’ve finished a number of commissions lately, so if you’re thinking about having a custom piece of your own painted, now is exactly the right time.
Sale ends Sunday night, April 30th.
(Disclaimer: prices do not include shipping.)
April 29, 2017 | Categories: "black widow", accomplishment, ace of spades, acrylic, adult beverages, april, art, art biz, artist, artiste, artistic growth, artists, artwork, avengers, batgirl, bret taylor, business, buy, buy buy buy, cartoon, change, changes, color, colour, commission, commissions, creative, creativity, crimson, details, dino, dinosaur, earth-shaking, economy, exhibition, gallery, t-rex, thank you, thanks, tradition, turquoise, twitter, tyrannosaurus rex, Uncategorized, van, vancouver, wine, woman, wordpress | Leave a comment
Full report on the show still to come, but here’s what’s still up for grabs. First, the metalflake paintings:
And then the sketches (all 8×10 inches, $50 apiece):
If there’s something you’ve got your eye on, let me know ASAP (prices do not include shipping). And if you’re interested in commissioning something you don’t see here, also let me know.
Thank you and goodnight.
July 16, 2016 | Categories: "black widow", acrylic, alizarin crimson, amazing, art, art biz, art show, artblog, artist, artiste, artistic growth, artwork, avengers, batgirl, betty boop, black, blog, blonde, bret taylor, business, buy, buy buy buy, catwoman, color, colour, comic, comics, creativity, crimson, drawing, exhibition, girl, girls, goddess, gold, golden, harley quinn, heels, hey ladies, high heels, illustration, labour of love, ladies, legs, look at me, metalflake, montana gold, movie, naughty, opening, painter, painting, paintings, paper, pencil, phoenix, picture, pin-up, pin-up girl, pin-ups, pinup, poison, poison ivy, red, shameless, show, sketch, sketchbook, social media, spider, stencil, studio, superhero, supervillain, thor, tribute, Uncategorized, vancouver, woman | Leave a comment
So my first show of 2014 is finished. Dark Valentine was another stellar experience for me, of course – these events mean more to me than I could ever really explain. People from different parts of my life (some who I had never even met before), all brought together by my art? After eight shows, that still floors me at times.
There was a great turnout again at Score on Davie – including several first-timers, which is always nice. It’s great to see the Gospel of Metalflake spreading far and wide.
Keith from Score came up with another delicious, powerful cocktail for the show, and this one even topped the Howyadoin Whiskey Sour from last time. Here’s my first Broken Heart of the night:
Irish whiskey (thanks to the amazing Simone Kelly, Jameson Ambassador par excellence), ginger liqueur, lemon juice, and a hint of maple syrup. Seriously, you gotta try one of these sometime.
Or maybe two, even.
Should I actually talk about the art? Yeah, I guess I should. Here’s the centerpiece of the show, a painting called “Once Upon a Wine”. It features three of the four main characters: Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, and Cinderella:
(In researching the fairytale characters for the show, I came across all sorts of interesting trivia, and some pretty dark versions of their stories. The sheer amount of murder in the original stories is kind of astounding. So I came up with an overall narrative for the show, tying several of these tales together and bringing the evil Queen of Hearts (she’s kind of a serial evil stepmother) into the mix as a sort of catalyst. Along the way the characters began to establish their own identities in my head, shaping the final paintings in ways I hadn’t anticipated.)
Here are a few of the paintings on the wall:
And here’s the evil Queen in all her reflected glory, in a piece titled “Who’s the Fairest?”:
The other key painting in the show is this one, “Awakening”:
The significance of this one changed several times during my creative process, as the story seemed to rewrite itself. So, hearing people’s reactions and interpretations has been fascinating. And those interpretations add their own layers of meaning, as well. Art should, after all, be an ongoing dialogue.
And finally, the night drew to a close:
I was feeling a bit rough the next day, but Simone treated me to lunch after I took the paintings down, and after that pulled pork mac & cheese hotdog, I recovered completely. As Valentine’s Days go, that was a pretty good one. Especially once this magic elixir entered the picture:
P.S. In the credit-where-credit-is-due department, I would like to thank these fine people for all they do:
Jewel Staite, for suggesting the concept to me in the first place, back in December (and for buying the Queen of Hearts). It makes me very happy knowing this painting is now hers.
Simone Kelly, for lunch, whiskey, and being an all-around epic human being.
Keith Corbett from Score, for pulling all of this together, providing the venue, and for excellent, excellent cocktails.
Bon Bahar, Amanda West, Cathy Browne, Meghan Kilner, Krista Falconer, Donna Jaggard, Dan Udey, Corrina Carlson, Adam Carlson, Steve Graham, Steve Kinsey, Chrissy Watson, John Watson, George Smeltzer, Nikkie Milne, Melissa Jones, Kyle Reid, Mike Watson, Aaron MacDonald, Scott McLeod, Lyndsey MacEwen, Stephanie Hogan, Jordana Manchester, Holly D’herty, Ian MacKinnon, Lindsay Bayne, Patrick Masse, Theresa Barteluk, Johnny Warkentin, Geoff Gautier, Cynthia Griffiths, Matt Bosch, Jay Holtslander, Katherine Houston.
Annie Friesen, for the buttons and the creative support.
Derek Bolen, for instigating.
Shannon Nilson, for naming “Once Upon a Wine”.
And Jamie Lee Purgavie, for always believing.
(Photos courtesy of imagemaker photographic studio, Bon Bahar, Jordana Manchester, and Simone Kelly.)
March 9, 2014 | Categories: accomplishment, acrylic, adult beverages, also, amazing, art, art biz, art show, artblog, artist, artiste, artistic growth, artists, artwork, bar, beautiful, best, big, blog, booze, bret taylor, business, buy, buzz, canada, color, colour, creative, creativity, danke schoen, drink, drinks, drunk, exhibition, finished, garter belt, girl, girls, goddess, happy, heartwarming, heels, here's to you, hey ladies, high heels, hips, howyadoin, illustrate, inspiration, labour of love, ladies, legs, lingerie, liquitex, liquor, love, medium, metal flake, metalflake, metallic, muse, naked, opening, paint, painter, painting, paintings, panties, pin-up girl, pin-ups, pinup, process, projects, promotion, show, sirens, stockings, story, stripper, strut, supernatural, thank you, thanks, that's all she wrote, thursday, transcend, vancouver, violet, whiskey, wine, woman, wordpress, work | Tags: dark valentine, purple, score on davie, valentine, vancouver | Leave a comment
My first solo show. I went into it practically blind, and it wasn’t till a week before it opened that I had someone to help me out with the planning. Fortunately it all came together nicely anyway, though.
What I learned:
• that it feels amazing to bring strangers together.
• that brown is a tricky colour to glaze with.
• that not everything will sell.
• that good lighting is crucial.
• that the private afterparty is the best part of a show.
Eight months later, I tried it again. I put on a live-art show, but also had a variety of new and old metalflake pieces on hand, plus a pretty random assortment of non-metalflake pieces.
What I learned:
• that it’s impossible to go slow when you’re painting in front of a crowd.
• that if there are metalflake and non-metalflake pieces in a show, nobody will look at the non-metalflake ones.
• that consistency of style and theme are crucial.
Armed with a new agent and a new series of paintings, this was my first show with some actual strategy behind it. We had an all-ages afternoon portion, and then an adults-only afterparty. We also had a dinosaur cake, buttons, and even costumes (some people really get into a good theme).
What I learned:
• that everybody loves dinosaurs.
• that eight hours is a long damn time to be standing and schmoozing.
• that a lot can change in a year.
• that cheap masking tape from the dollar store is the only way to go.
This show was a joint effort between Alex Stewart and I, based on a pin-up girl theme. Everybody involved (and it was a sizable crew) really brought their A-game. The show was a smash, and a real event.
What I learned:
• that everybody loves pin-up girls.
• that sanding the edges of a painting before glazing adds so much.
• that audience participation is the best form of publicity, and people love to dress up.
• that collaborating with another artist is an amazing experience.
• that spraypaint is your friend.
• that baseboard heaters are pretty useful for drying paintings.
• that under the right circumstances you can get away with almost anything.
• that I don’t have pre-show jitters anymore.
A much longer show (it ran for 3 months), a brand new venue, and overall a serious change of pace. The opening had a relatively small turnout, but that was okay. Nearly all of the paintings were sold before they were even hung at the venue – some before they were even finished.
What I learned:
• that everybody loves undersea creatures.
• that putting together contracts is exhausting but educational.
• that people can and will let you down, but other people will raise you back up.
• that blues and greens are inherently more intense colours.
• that octopi are incredibly hard to draw.
• that I shouldn’t schedule an art show opening for Mother’s Day.
• that X-Acto blades are sharp.
• that leaving the biggest, most crucial painting in a show till last isn’t such a bright idea.
• that borders aren’t necessary.
Another new venue, and many new people were in attendance. Superheroes seemed like a natural fit for my art style and process, and sure enough, this was easily my most successful show to date (particularly if you factor in all the spin-off commissions I got from it). Also, the food was astounding, and once again I was treated like a star. This show opened all sorts of doors for me, too.
What I learned:
• that everybody loves superheroes.
• that putting on a show by myself isn’t actually that hard.
• that going hog wild with colour is a liberating experience.
• that light refraction is what makes the colours really pop.
• that mica flake gel is a gamechanger.
• that lipstick on your forehead is a great conversational gambit.
• that people really do care about Green Arrow.
My fourth and final venue for 2013, and one well-suited to the topic at hand. Everything about the experience was positive, from the formal-dress aspect, to the involvement of one of my favourite whiskeys as a sponsor. And while there were no pre-sales, I did sell half the paintings in a matter of five hours that night.
What I learned:
• that everybody loves cocktails.
• that every girl crazy for a sharp-dressed man.
• that art shows should always have signature cocktails.
• that black lava gel is a must, not just an option.
• that when the baseboard heaters just aren’t enough, the top of the toaster oven can also be pressed into service to make paintings dry faster.
• that a splash of iridescent colour under the top layer of clear is like a revolution for the eyes.
• that a venue so close to home is a godsend at the end of the show (particularly when you’re in a hurry to celebrate for another five hours).
• that pulled pork mac and cheese defies description.
• that not even Pearl Jam can keep the people who really want to be at the show from attending.
January 29, 2014 | Categories: accomplishment, acrylic, adult beverages, advice, agent, also, amazing, arigato, art, art show, artblog, artist, artiste, artistic growth, artists, artwork, bar, batgirl, blog, booze, bret taylor, business, canada, captain america, carnotaurus, catwoman, cherry bomb, color, colour, commission, commissions, dino, dinosaur, drawing, drinks, earth-shaking, garter belt, girls, handcuffs, heels, high heels, hips, hot pink, howyadoin, howyadoin graphics, imagemaker, insomnia, iridescent, koi, labour of love, ladies, legs, lingerie, liquid mirror, liquitex, liquor, lovely assistant, magenta, metal flake, metalflake, metallic, montana gold, onward, paint, painter, painting, paintings, party, patron, pin-up, pin-up girl, pin-ups, pink, pinup, projects, promo, promotion, red, remix, reptile, seahorse, show, social media, spinosaurus, spraypaint, stars, Stegosaurus, stockings, stripper, strut, superhero, supervillain, t-rex, the tipper, thor, tipper, triceratops, twitter, tyrannosaurus rex, upward, validation, vancouver, whiskey, whisky, woman, wordpress | Tags: art, art show, blog, bret taylor, cocktails, dinosaurs, hot pink, howyadoin, ka-pow, ocean rain, vancouver | Leave a comment
So it’s official now: the Christmas metalflake paintings are happening, and in a big way. I’ve been building the bases for the paintings and refining the designs over the past month.
Here you can see a few of the bases, nearly ready for the lineart that will turn them into Christmas paintings:
These are the prototypes to give you a solid idea of what the finished pieces will look like. First, the 6×6-inch paintings:
And here are the smaller, 3×4-inch paintings:
They’re coming together rather quickly now. These paintings are limited edition pieces, and we’ve already had a number of inquiries, so if you’re interested in one of these, you should probably act fast.
Here’s how it breaks down. There’ll be 16 of the 6×6-inch paintings: 5 red santas, 5 green trees, 3 blue snowflakes, and 3 blue snowmen. These will be $60 apiece (plus shipping if you’re outside the Vancouver area).
And there will be 10 of the 3×4-inch pieces: 4 blue snowflakes, 3 red santas, and 3 green trees. These are $30 each (again, plus shipping where applicable).
If you want to reserve one, please contact my agent at this address: email@example.com
I’ll also be releasing Christmas t-shirts on Thursday. And while we’re on the topic of our metalflake Christmas, I’ve still got room in my schedule if you’d like to commission a custom piece as a present for someone you love. The window of availability is narrowing rapidly, though, so if you want one in time for Christmas, please let us know ASAP.
Ho ho ho.
November 13, 2012 | Categories: acrylic, art, bret taylor, christmas, commission, commissions, howyadoin, metalflake, paint, painting | Tags: art, bret taylor, christmas, commission, custom, holidays, howyadoin, metalflake, paint, painting, santa, season's greetings, snowflake, snowman, tree, yuletide | Leave a comment
All sorts of fun things going on here in preparation for the next art show in October. You may have already seen the t-shirts and the new calendar, but there are also 18 new metalflake paintings in the works. Right now they’re scattered all around my studio, in various states of completion.
Here’s a sneak peek:
We’ve got paintings as small as 3×4 inches, and as large as 20×20. Some will have designs based on the illustrations in my calendar, and some will have designs that are just rough concepts at the moment (hey, there’s still plenty of time). Just the other day, for example, the Agent and I were talking and she suggested doing paintings based on dinosaur fossils.
Clearly she’s a genius, because this opened up whole new areas of creativity for me. This T-Rex skull design is already on a t-shirt, but on a metalflake painting I think it’ll blow people’s minds:
I’ve also got an idea in mind that involves revamping the whole metalflake technique so it’s even more three-dimensional. But that may have to wait for another show.
There may also be some other dinosaur-related merchandise available, but that’s still top-secret for now. Mum’s the word.
While I’ve got your attention, what’s your favourite dinosaur?
Well. As I write this it’s late Monday night. It’s been a pretty mellow day – slept in late, couldn’t really get focused on anything, though I did still get a lot done. Yesterday was a hangover day, though more in the spiritual/mental sense than the physical sense.
But Saturday? Ah, Saturday. That was a fine, fine day.
As you obviously know from previous posts, Saturday was the night of my latest show, Metal Flake Remix. We had a great turnout, and I met lots of new people, which is definitely one of the best perks of being an artist. And I sold lots of art, drank some delicious bourbon, and created six new paintings:
After the show, I sat up with a handful of close friends all night talking (okay, and occasionally drinking). By Sunday afternoon it felt like the day after the prom – I was tired and burned out, but very happy. And it felt like I’d taken a huge step in my life.
I definitely want to try live art again. What an amazing experience – I was nervous as hell about trying it, but once I got started I couldn’t have stopped if I tried. The music, the momentum, the amazing people watching, all combined to give me one hell of a kick in the ass. I know I have a lot to learn about this, of course – how to draw the audience in more, how to control the pace a little better, how not to blaze through all the work in just 20 minutes. But I’ll get there, with practice.
Some of my favourite moments – Kelly winning the painting we drew for, finally meeting some longtime Twitter friends face-to-face, putting the big blue handprint everywhere, tequila shots, having friends from the bad old days in Charlottetown on hand…
Plans are already afoot for upcoming shows, too. The Dino Show is tentatively scheduled for September, and I wouldn’t mind incorporating some live art into that as well. Closing Time is still a going concern, too (I’d really like to take my time and think that one through, though). And then there’s For a Dancer – those six paintings could conceivably be finished by early August. Not sure yet what will happen there, but it’d be nice to have a one-night mini-exhibit in a restaurant.
I certainly don’t want to oversaturate the market, so to speak. Fortunately my agent/marketing manager is passing on a ton of great advice in that regard, and in others as well.
So without further ado, some people I really need to thank: my family, John Watson and Imagemaker Photographic Studio, Kate MacDonald, Alex Stewart, Cosca Restaurant, the Après-midi Teahouse, Bailey Hunter, Lindsay Bayne, Derek Bolen and Karm from VanCity Buzz, Abbey Jackson, Kelle Belle, Dale Deruiter, Karina Halle and Team EiT, Corinna and Adam Carlson, Lola Frost, Lori Kittelberg, George Smeltzer, Samantha K, Matty Sadorf, Ned Tobin, Jonny Warkentin, Scott Graham, Oddball Workshop, Annie Friesen and Dottie’s Buttons, Jamie Lee Purgavie, Nicola Proctor, Cynthia Griffiths, John Lee, Ceci Graber, Andrea Waters, Geoff Gauthier, Steve Goodman, Mike Watson, Johnny B, Novo Pizzeria, MCNG Marketing, Felice Lam, Cathy Browne, Anthony Wittrock, David Dreger, Amanda West…
… and of course, in the Without-Whom Department: Tess McCann.
(Photo by Lindsay Bayne. All other photos courtesy of Cynthia Griffiths.)
Greetings and salutations. The big day approaches, all too rapidly. I’m slowly getting things together, but the usual pre-show stress (and accompanying insomnia) have already started.
Fortunately, painting takes the edge off, so it’s good I still have new metalflake pieces in the works. Just finished this one today:
I may do a dragon on a blue background next.
I’m aiming for 24 paintings (and 3 prints) for sale, plus another 4 on display.
And before I know it, it’ll be Friday and I’ll be painting live in front of a crowd. No pressure…
Way, way back, I blogged about a project I called Top Seekrit. The project took awhile, due to the vagaries of winter weather and life just getting in the way, as it often does.
The painting was more-or-less finished in early January, and presented to the birthday girl who inspired it on the day of her party. Unfortunately there wasn’t time to get it properly photographed. Plus, the clearcoat was still milky in a couple spots, which I have to admit made me more than a little nervous. What if it never cleared completely? You really don’t wanna be the guy who ruins a pretty girl’s birthday present.
Fortunately it dried nicely, and a couple days ago I finally had it photographed by my good friend John Watson.
But wait – I’m getting ahead of myself here.
It all started this way: she told me about a seahorse tattoo she had, and how she’d love a painting based on Charles (the aforementioned seahorse, of course). She’d already seen several of my first-generation metalflake paintings, and liked the look of those. So really, it was all just a matter of sorting out details after that.
First I did a tracing of her tattoo, which hopefully didn’t tickle too much:
Then I refined that a bit, and defined the lineart better:
Next came the final ink lineart, ready to be transferred onto the painted surface:
(It was during this stage that I decided to add the little circular bits to Charles’s crest.)
And how did all this turn out, you ask? Well, a lot like this:
Oh, and here’s a little macro detail to give you more of an idea of how the metalflake paintings look in the real world:
What can I say? When I’m inspired the whole process is just… easier.
March 31, 2012
P.S. As always, thanks, Tess.