flake

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.


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.)


As you might’ve guessed, painting for a living (much like any other occupation) has its share of gripes. In this particular case, of course, the issues are compounded by the fact that so many ignorant people seem to think it’s a cute little hobby for children, but ultimately something we should grow out of – the ironic part of that being, of course, that the same people make the worst clients because they act like spoiled children themselves. Combine that ridiculous sense of entitlement with bad manners, general rudeness, and willful ignorance, and you’ve got a recipe for frustration:

  • Probably the most aggravating thing is people who offer shitty advice, or pass on leads that are obviously useless, but demand answers and validation right away. Here’s a tip: if you give me a lead and I say “I’ll check it out,” that means I’ll check it out. If I have a question, I’ll get back to you. If it turns out to be useful, I will thank you, probably both publicly and privately. If it sounds fishy or turns out to be a scam – which it often does – I’ll ignore it. Acting like a needy child won’t help sell me on it. More than likely it’ll make me feel tempted to ignore you in the future, and that’s the politest response I can think of. So don’t send me frantic followup messages the next day because you need your ego stroked. I will check out your recommendation and either follow it or not. This isn’t about you, regardless of how noble your intentions might be.
  • If you know somebody who’s looking for free art in return for some dubious “exposure” somewhere, point them in the direction of an art school. Maybe some lucky student will learn an important lesson or two about scammers and grifters. Me? I’ve already been down that road many times, and I’ve learned what there is to learn.
  • Don’t be a flake when you’re commissioning or buying art. If you’ve got a project in mind, by all means get in touch. I’ll probably ask a few questions, then give you several different options with regards to size and price, and tell you how much I want for a down payment. If the idea of a down payment bothers you, then please fuck off and don’t contact me again. It’s specifically because of people like you that I ask for down payments in the first place.
  • Further to that last point, if you make a business arrangement with an artist, honour it. Don’t run away when the project’s half-finished. Don’t pretend you didn’t get messages, emails, calls, or invoices. And don’t just assume I’ll forget. It makes you look like a flake, an idiot and a scumbag.
  • And finally on the point of flakiness, don’t offer to help someone out with a reference, a commission, or anything else and then bail out when the time comes to actually help. Especially if the aforementioned bailing-out involves pretending you’re sick or out of town.
  • If you know someone whose kid would do the job for much less than I charge, hire that kid, or go buy yourself a nice print at Walmart or IKEA. I’m not interested in making bargain-basement art, so don’t waste my time.
  • If your significant other decides halfway through a project that they don’t like it, I don’t care. I don’t have a business arrangement with them; I have one with you . They have no say in the process at all. And if you have a disagreement with them, it’s your problem. Not mine. Don’t drag your dysfunctional baggage into my life.
  • Shipping is a legitimate charge, not an afterthought or a cash grab on my part. And it isn’t an exact science; I don’t know all the prices and regulations for FedEx, Canada Post, or UPS. If it costs more than originally anticipated, then it costs more. I will try my damnedest to give you a realistic quote, but I can’t guarantee things down to the last penny. Trying to stick me with any additional costs makes you look like a cheapskate.

Wow, that was therapeutic. Any other artists got suggestions for issues I haven’t touched on?

Oh, and if you think I might be talking about you? I am.


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