onward

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.


So I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately. 2012 has been, as I may have mentioned previously, not such a good year for me * . Pretty much the only positives in my life have been a handful of new friends I met (plus a small circle of “older”, tried-and-true ones), and the art. Many other things, personal and otherwise, have turned out to be mirages, or just carrots dangled in front of me for whatever reason.

A huge chunk of my time has been invested in trying to just understand what I’ve been through. Never mind undoing the damage, or actually trying to move forward .

But the year is almost over, so it’s time to cast off all this extraneous existential bullshit and focus on the positive. I’ve been extremely fortunate to have had some monumental influences on my art (two people in particular, and I’m sure they know who they are), and my art career. I’m miles ahead of where I was after my first show – which was only fourteen months ago, though I find that hard to believe at times. It’s weird and a bit disconcerting to look back at how I threw that show together mostly by myself, just making it up as I went along. Now I’ve done four shows, I’ve got an art book in the works, and I even have an now.

I just need to figure out where the next evolutionary jump is. Merchandise sales are growing, and so is the local buzz, but it seems as though we’ve taken social media (for example) about as far as we can as a promotional tool. I’d like to get into galleries, of course, but I’m not exactly sure how that happens in today’s fragmented art market.

Until we figure that out, though, I’m immensely thankful for all the support and encouragement I’ve gotten from a growing circle of amazing people. And I’m looking forward to applying all the things we’ve learned this year to the next show ** .

Speaking of which, I also want to focus heavily on artistic collaboration in my immediate future. The aforementioned show (with Alex Stewart ) is a crucial step in that direction, and hopefully just the first one. I’d like to combine efforts with other artists, photographers, possibly even writers or musicians. I’d also like to put together street teams to promote next year’s events, so if you’re interested, please let me know.

So thanks for reading, and onward and upward in 2013.

Bret Taylor
Vancouver, BC
December 7, 2012

* In fact it’s been kind of horrible, especially the first five months.
** Hot Pink , tentatively scheduled for early February.


Thanks.

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.

Bret Taylor
Vancouver, BC
October 8/2012


Well, kids, the shotglasses are done. Seems like a million years have passed since I kicked the project off on January 1st, all full of piss and vinegar and ready to draw 366 glasses over the course of 2012.

Then again, I had no idea at the time what twists and turns my life would take in January. Guess I can’t fault myself for not being clairvoyant, though – I doubt that anybody else could’ve predicted the things that have happened to me any better.

So here I am almost a month and a half later, and the world as I know it is drastically different from the one I thought I was living in back in December. Some longterm plans hatched in happier times have been shelved, sadly. And the adjustment process hasn’t at all been easy.

On the plus side, here’s the last of the 31 shotglasses:

And I think the new idea of having a different theme every month will add some much-needed variety to the whole drawing-every-day thing. Dinosaurs for February are, as you’ve already seen, well underway. Other potential monthly topics include guitars, shoes, dogs & cats, dragons, and at least one other than I’m blanking on at the moment. I’m certainly open to suggestions from the floor.

Also on the brighter side, the work situation has taken a definite turn for the better, so at least that particular bit of stress and pressure has lessened considerably.

Onward and upward, right?

Bret Taylor
Lost in 2012.


Follow