colour

Superchicks – Still Available.

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.


Dark Valentine Recap

01 Calendar

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.

02 Party People 01 03 Party People 02

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:

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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:

05 OnceUponaWine_P7A9857

(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:

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And here’s the evil Queen in all her reflected glory, in a piece titled “Who’s the Fairest?”:

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The other key painting in the show is this one, “Awakening”:

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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:

10 End of the Night

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:

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The End.

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.)


7 Art Shows and What I’ve Learned.

Metal Flake

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.

Metalflake Remix

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.

Dinosaurs

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.

Hot Pink

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.

Ocean Rain

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.

Ka-Pow!

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.

Cocktails

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.


The Glamorous Life

Another art show is officially done. Cocktails was the first formal-dress event I’ve put on so far, and I have to say it was a rousing success. A great turnout, impressive sales, and everybody looked like a million bucks.

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

Wednesday morning I was up early, packing up the paintings and heading to Score on Davie to set up. Score is a great venue, with a much bigger room than you’d anticipate from seeing the outside of the building, and fantastic lighting, too.

01_Setup

It only took a few minutes to set things up; after eight shows I’m kind of an old hand at this.

02_Display

All the while this was going on, I could smell food aromas coming out of the kitchen. So once the show was hung, I sat down and ordered some breakfast.

03_Breakfast

The management and staff of Score were very enthusiastic about the show, and very accommodating. They’ve had art shows there in the past, and it showed in how professionally they handled everything.

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Of course I live-tweeted the whole process, and I had three paintings sold before I even finished that Jack & Coke.

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After that I ran a few errands, and went home to do a bit of painting before suiting up for the evening’s festivities.

Then it was party time.

06_Glam

The night went something like this for me: sell a painting, have my picture taken with a beautiful woman, drink a signature Howyadoin Whiskey Sour (Jameson whiskey, hand-squeezed lemonade, free-range pasteurized egg whites, and Angostura bitters), schmooze, sell a painting, have my picture taken…

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08_Sour

The drinks were potent, delicious, and incredibly cheap, thanks to the involvement of Simone Kelly, who came all the way from Ireland just to promote her favourite whiskey (she was also kind enough to treat me to a shot).

09_Simone

Several times that night, things started to slow down and I thought maybe the party was over. But then there’d be another influx of people, and the cycle would start again. Even as the Pearl Jam show ended, more people were still arriving.

We finally wrapped things up around 1:00AM, and then a friend from the bad old days who I hadn’t seen in a year came back to my bar, and we cracked open another bottle of (you guessed it) Jameson and drank and talked till 6:00AM.

So I’d like to thank these most excellent people for their contributions to the evening:

Jessi, Keith, Rob, Shiz and Jessica at Score, for… everything, basically (not just the free meals).

Derek Bolen, for lining up the dominoes.

Simone Kelly, for all things whiskey-related.

Annie Friesen, for the buttons, the artistic encouragement, and generally being an excellent human being.

And Krista Falconer, Jewel Staite, Mark Fox, Cher Staite, George Smeltzer, Lori Kittelberg, Cathy Browne, Katherine MacDonald, Doug Farmer, Scott Graham, Lyndsey Locke, Cristina Weir, Sam Anderson, Dale De Ruiter, Donna Jaggard, Dan Udey, Amanda West, Meghan Kilner and Shaun, Candie Tanaka, Adam & Corinna Carlson, Nikkie Milne, Melissa Jones, Johnny B., Ian Martin & “Holly”, Rochele Potter, Tiffany Shim, Don Falconer, Lindsay Bayne, Ian MacKinnon, Theresa Barteluk, Kyle Reid, Chris, and Sean (I’m sure I must be forgetting somebody here).

I thank you, one and all. You made my day.

Photos courtesy of Amanda West, Lyndsey Locke, Simone Kelly, Dan Udey.

Ka-Pow!

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:

 

batgirl Fantastic

 

Stay tuned.


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:

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Buttons courtesy of Annie Friesen and Dottie’s Buttons.

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Some of the fine people who showed up.

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

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Team Sizzr represents.

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Mesmerized.

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Oops. Not Aaron.

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In which I demonstrate a narwhal/unicorn swordfight.

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All the support in the world.

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 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 – 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:

 

Humpback_TShirt

 

 

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


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:

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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.

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

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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.

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

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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.

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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).

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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:

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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.

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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.

015_Collab_SM

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:

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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.

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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


Shotglass-a-Day Project, Day 09/31.

Got this particular glass from my good buddy Paul Whitt, along with a matching flask. He allegedly found it in an establishment of questionable moral fiber:

Coloured pencil.