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.
October 8, 2012 | Categories: , , art show , artist , artiste , artistic growth , artwork , , bret taylor , , , creative , , kudos , labour of love , , , , lovely assistant , memories , metal flake , metalflake , , muse , , , onward , paint , painting , paintings , , tattoo , thank you , thanks , , upward , validation , , | Tags: art , , , dinosaur , , , howyadoin , , metalflake , , , painting , , , , | 3 Comments »
Well, here we are – another chronological milestone. I have to admit, I was so caught up in my own day-to-day crap that the end-of-the-decade aspect didn’t even register with me until a few days ago. Ergo, I haven’t really been sitting around feeling nostalgic or retrospective.
But I will say this: this past decade was the one where I finally got serious about art. In the 80s and 90s I took a few extended breaks from art, and each time I came back I had to take a few steps back to reassess. In the 2000s things were a little different; I didn’t really plunge back in till late 2001, but once I did, I never let up. Since then the depth and breadth of my ongoing school-of-hard-knocks art education have been pretty substantial. Each year it feels like I’m learning more than I did in all the previous ones combined. Which only makes sense, I guess – each year I’m starting with a much bigger knowledge base.
So, time being of the essence, I’ll wrap this up with a list of people who challenged, inspired, taught, or otherwise helped me with my art over the last decade. And again, this is all off the top of my head, so if I accidentally left you out, it’s really nothing personal.
Thanks to: my family, Robt. Williams and Juxtapoz , Bill Sienkiewicz, Glenn Barr, Jimi Hendrix, David Mack, Dave McKean, Jim Mahfood, Chris Bachalo, Patrick Blaine, Kevin Meyers, Jaye Frisina, Anthony Smith, Howard Cowdrick, Rheni Tauchid, Anthony Dunphy, Eliza Ollin, William Wray, Jeff Hotchkiss, Tim Kupin, Ray Rivard, Benoit Leblanc, Mark Crater, John Watson, Paul Whitt, Chris Nowlin, Pól Rua, Kristen Northrup, Laura Whaley, Rob Cooper, Kurt Mitchell, Jonah Weiland, Morna Tudor, Gary Bolt, Joshua Burt, Brian Cronin, Lori Kittelberg, George Smeltzer, Matt Anderson, Jewel Staite, Joss Whedon, Scott Robertson, Frank Quitely, Adam Hughes, Danijel Zezelj, Milo Manara, Eduardo Risso, Sebastian Krüger, Mordechai Luchins, Jason Light, Jason Williams, the Beastie Boys, Lyndsay Malchuk, Kelley Averill, Rick Diehl, Lisa and Paul from Mojave, Jessi Sensabaugh, Gus Lindgren, Robert Genn, Matty O, and the incomparable, irrepressible fly on the wall.