legs

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.


T-Shirt Tuesday – Octopus Edition

Hey there. As you may have noticed, weekly t-shirt releases were on hiatus for awhile as we prepped for (and recovered from) Hot Pink .

But now we’re rebooting the t-shirt release program, starting with this octopus from the upcoming Ocean Rain show (more on this at a later date):

You can buy this lovely cephalopod right here in my Redbubble store .

Cheers.


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:

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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).

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:

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.

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.

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.

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


Hot Pink – the Latest.

Pretty caught up in art-show excitement these days. So much so that I almost forgot about the blog.

But many amazing things are happening. Paintings are already selling, buttons have arrived, a new shirt is almost ready, sketches are being posed for, greeting cards are available, and the Hot Pink Peeler Mix playlist is nearly finished. All sorts of craziness, and definitely of the good variety.

This art-show business does actually get easier. For a long time I didn’t think that would ever happen.

Mind you, I’ve got a team behind me now, and their support and enthusiasm are pretty infectious (and it’s not just my show this time around). In fact, we’re meeting on the weekend to talk over some hush-hush, ultra-top-secret business. Just wait till you see the results. Oh, man…

Anyway, people are stepping up to bat and generally being excellent human beings. I could rave about that for hours, or about how beautiful women are keeping me informed as to what shoes and underwear (pink and/or black, obviously) they’ve bought for the show. But instead I’ll just treat you to another slideshow:

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Nine days to the big show. Anybody else as pumped for this as I am?


T-Shirt Thursday, Round 25

Continuing with last week’s pin-up girl theme:

This and the shirts from round 24, of course, tie in with my upcoming Hot Pink art show.

And you can find this one here in my RedBubble store .


So here’s a post that’s long overdue. Back on March 25 (day 810 of the 1,000 Days Project), I woke up to find myself inspired. Hell, maybe even driven. I looked around at all the stuff I’ve been working on, in an attempt to prioritize. And as a means of self-promotion I decided to post in-progress photos online to document the whole day.

Since I’m planning a series of six ballerina paintings, I figured I should start working out the poses I want to use – the final lineart will be drawn from a live model, but I wanted to do my homework this time. So here are the sketches:

With that out of the way, I decided to turn my attention to an Avengers painting commissioned by a friend of mine. Once the masking was done, it struck me just how fortunate I was to have such a perfect venue for painting on a sunny day:

Then I started applying the linework. Instead of the white I always used to use on my metalflake pieces, I went with silver (Tri-Art Liquid Mirror), bronze and copper. It’s only recently that I branched out from the white – the silver was also used on the “For a Dancer” painting, and the copper on the seahorse (AKA “Top Seekrit”) piece.

Pretty soon all that remained to do was signing the Avengers piece:

And finally, the glorious results:

I have to admit, I’m really happy with how this one turned out, especially the metallics in the lineart.

Once that was finished I was still pretty psyched, so I decided to press on:

I really enjoy these large-format paintings. As I’ve mentioned more than once, the plan is to do a series of these pinup-girl paintings, if I can ever get the planets back in the same alignment again. Here’s where I left off that night, after close to nine hours of painting:

And that was day 810. A whole slew of amazing people offered comments and helped me promote this mini-event, so I’d like to take this opportunity to thank them all:

Nicole Cruickshank, Andrea Waters, Cosca Restaurant, Ned Tobin, Geoff Gauthier, Trevor Ricketts, Ceci Graber, Wes Thompson, Natalie Jean, Bahaneh Grewal, Ron Cooper, Isabell Kinga Markus, Amanda West, Matty Sadorf, John Lee, Bob Cluness, Heather Prost, George Smeltzer, Candice Roach, Keith Perkins, Kelle Belle, Meghan Low, Lola Frost, Vincent Ng, Irving Lau, Todd Hancock and 99.3 CFOX, Opal, Annie Friesen, Melissa Hartfiel, Lorraine Murphy, Jessi Sensabaugh, Yvonne Milroy, Julie Frisina, Jim Dickson, Tina Power, Cathryn Smith, Margaux Wosk, Erika Wallace, Matt Algren, Kimberley Mulla, Jaime Purgavie, Melissa Jones, Wendy Pemberton, and Tess McCann.

(Plus Tequila Mockingbird, Nikki B, the ruggler, Baw-nee and sparklehorss.)

Thank you, one and all. You’re the reason I do this.


So. One month of 2012 is done already. Not exactly one of my better ones, though I’m slowly coming to accept that maybe January will always suck.

Anyhow, January’s done, so February’s a (minor) fresh start, right? Lots happening artwise, as is often the case. There’s a whole raft of metalflake paintings that will hopefully be finished soon. Including a piece I called “For a Dancer” (after the Jackson Browne song of the same name):

What you’re seeing here is a mockup, of course. I first envisioned this painting back in August after one of those life-changing late-night conversations. But when I mocked up the whole thing up tonight, I have to admit I was taken aback just a bit. This is a very personal piece, so it’s gratifying to see the emotional impact it has.

Inspirational verse:

“I don’t remember losing track of you,
You were always dancing in and out of view,
I must have thought you’d always be around.”

Moving on to the next item on the agenda, I’m sharing this from Franziska San Pedro’s blog, entitled “How The Internet Can Change Your Life.” Interesting reading.

And finally, I’ve posted a couple new t-shirt designs to my RedBubble store just in time for Valentine’s Day:

Carry on, then.
Bret Taylor
Day 762/1000.


Probably the final post of the year, so I thought I’d talk a little about 2012. As I’ve mentioned previously, I’ve been doing sketches for a show called “Closing Time” – a series of pinup girls against the backdrop of bars and other drinking establishments (two subjects near and dear to my own heart).

Well, just one beautiful pinup girl, to be honest.

Anyhow, I procured a 36×36-inch canvas from the good people at Opus Art Supplies today, brought it home, scratched my chin, and thought about what I could do with such a canvas:

Of course the answer was obvious: I could plunge into the Closing Times series. Now, I’ve been giving these a lot of thought lately – figuring out how I might render them, whether or not I should incorporate some texture, etc. etc. (I must admit, the subject of these hypothetical paintings has been strolling through my subconscious on a regular basis, too.)

Anyhow, after some deliberation I figured out the approach I want to take with this series, and shockingly, it’s a much simpler, more minimalist route than the one I take with the Metalflake paintings.

So, you’ve seen various iterations of this already, but a number of tweaks have been made to this design since:

(And keep in mind, of course, that this is just a mockup, not the actual painting.)

All that being said, I will be applying the first blue washes to this piece tomorrow, and we’ll see where things go from there. And if you want to see where I go with this one, Loyal Reader…

… well, you’ll just have to wait and see.


Further thoughts on the latest show/series concept: the title will be “Closing Time”, after the Leonard Cohen song of the same name. And when the show happens, people will have the option of buying the original paintings, or buying a book of the preliminary sketches.

Two more from the past few nights, then:

More info as it occurs to me, obviously.


… and counting. My brain is practically exploding with ideas lately. Something like twenty paintings are currently in the works, and ideas for more come every day. Having your brain on fire is kind of a weird, surreal thing sometimes. But I’ve learned to just roll with it.

In particular, ideas for the show/book of pinup girls in bars just keep popping up. I’ve tweaked the idea from the other day, and sketched out another. I’ve got concepts in mind for almost ten more.

Here’s where things stand right now:

I’ve also just complete two 6×6-inch metalflake paintings that I’m pretty happy with. Been thinking for awhile of doing some with just a simple border and no other linework, and lo and behold, the concept works:

On top of that there are Christmas gifts and five commissions in the works. Busy, busy.

And that’s my story.


So December is upon us – one month left in this tumultuous year. Like a lot of people I’m already thinking about 2012, of course. I’d very much like to maintain the creative momentum I’ve built up in 2010 and 2011, if not add to it.

Already got ideas for a couple of big projects – two potential new shows, and a book to accompany one of them. One of the shows will most likely be a metalflake series, but it’s the other that concerns us here. Been toying with the idea of exploring the pinup-girl subject again, following the success of my book, Hey Ladies . And on that note, after much discussion, sketching and brainstorming, I’ve concluded that the other new series will be pin-up girls in or on bars.

To wit, here’s the proposal for the first of the series:

Haven’t made any major decisions in terms of rendering style, etc. I do know they’ll be acrylic on canvas, but beyond that… ?


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