commissions

Presenting the Second Annual Rent-Party Art Sale Extravaganza

“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.)


Bugs Show – What’s Left.

So Bugs was another fun show – a bit more intimate than the last few shows, but we definitely had fun. Full report to come, but in the meantime, people have been asking which pieces are still available, so here they are.

Each piece is 8×10 inches, and $70 unframed. Price doesn’t include shipping charges. So if you’ve got your eye on one, drop me a line: howyadoin@gmail.com

Also, if there’s something you don’t see here, let me know anyway. I’m open to doing custom pieces for people if they’re so inclined.

Cheers.

 


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 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.

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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.)


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.

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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.

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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.

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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.


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


I’m dreaming…

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: tessrmccann@gmail.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.


Thank You, Thank You.

So here we are, almost at the tail end of another year. It’s been really up-and-down for me, but for our purposes here let’s focus on the pros and not the cons. I met an astounding number of new friends, both locally and worldwide. And among other things, these friends (as well as the ones who’ve been with me for years) have bought and/or promoted my art everywhere.

I’ve been interviewed, profiled, reviewed, you name it. I was in two very successful shows (the second of which was my first solo show, and let me tell you, brothers and sisters, that there was no small amount of anxiety in the days leading up to that one). I’ve had many commissions, a handful of which are nearing completion as we speak.

So without further ado, here’s the roll call for 2012. It’s loosely organized into categories, but there’s so much overlap that I’d rather not get too specific about what those categories are. Here we go:
My family, Dan Udey, Jenn Ashton, Patti Catroppa, Nicole and Todd Cruickshank, Ceci Graber, Lori Kittelberg, Donna Jaggard, Lisa Jarvis, Mario Loubert, Joe Clark, Karina Halle, Scott McKenzie, Regan Taylor, Devin Oickle, Jeff Murphy, Mike Seymour, Geoff Seymour, Susan Burzynski, Cynthia McShane, Lola Augustine, Jenny Burzanko, Linda Kat Spencer, Domenick Bartuccio, Geoff Gauthier, Anthony Wittrock, Jennifer Davis, Kit Knowles, Randy Bishop, Blair Pritchett.

Colin and Cameron and P.J. from the Tipper, Franziska San Pedro, Lori McNee, Lindsay B., K. Myles, Ned Tobin, Mike Hoffman, Cathryn Salter, Crystal Kwon and Karm at VanCity Buzz, Sati from LiveVan, Vincent Ng, Bahaneh Grewal, Matty Sadorf, Lexy Stabbs, Meghan Low, John Lee, Ian A. Martin, Rheni Tauchid.

John Watson, George Smeltzer, Gary Bolt, Tina Power, Stephanie Young, Jaye Frisina, Pól Rua, Mike Watson, Donna Jay, Jeff Hornby, Anthony Smith, and everybody at RedBubble, Imagekind, Blurb, MOO Cards and ABC Photocolour.

Robert Genn, Alyson Stanfield.

And obviously, Tess McCann.

I thank you all.

(Please note: if I left you out, it’s not a personal slight; it’s just the effects of my insomnia. In which case, drop me a line and I’ll correct the oversight ASAP.)


Artists and Social Media.

So hey, I wrote a little guest-blog thing for Lori McNee’s Fine Art & Tips website.