paint

The Official Ocean Rain Recap

On Sunday, May 12th, I had the distinct pleasure of holding my sixth art show. This one broke ground in terms of venue (the HiVE ), timing and stricture. 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:

Buttons courtesy of Annie Friesen and Dottie’s Buttons .

Some of the fine people who showed up.

The long-distance traveler award goes to Jaime, who came over from Vancouver Island for the show.

Team Sizzr represents.

Mesmerized.

Oops. Not Aaron.

In which I demonstrate a narwhal/unicorn swordfight.

All the support in the world.

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.

__________________________________

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.

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.


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?


A few teasers for next month’s art show :

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More info here .


You heard it here first. I’m releasing 4 of the metalflake Christmas paintings as Christmas cards (and postcards) as well:

Each of those 4 images is a separate card, of course. And they’re all in my RedBubble store .

(RedBubble, incidentally, has a Black Friday sale on at the moment. Everything is 15% off.)


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: [email protected]

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.


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.)


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


Thoughts on the Dino Show, and a Question.

All sorts of fun things going on here in preparation for the next art show in October. You may have already seen the t-shirts and the new calendar , but there are also 18 new metalflake paintings in the works. Right now they’re scattered all around my studio, in various states of completion.

Here’s a sneak peek:

We’ve got paintings as small as 3×4 inches, and as large as 20×20. Some will have designs based on the illustrations in my calendar, and some will have designs that are just rough concepts at the moment (hey, there’s still plenty of time). Just the other day, for example, the Agent and I were talking and she suggested doing paintings based on dinosaur fossils.

Clearly she’s a genius, because this opened up whole new areas of creativity for me. This T-Rex skull design is already on a t-shirt , but on a metalflake painting I think it’ll blow people’s minds:

I’ve also got an idea in mind that involves revamping the whole metalflake technique so it’s even more three-dimensional. But that may have to wait for another show.

There may also be some other dinosaur-related merchandise available, but that’s still top-secret for now. Mum’s the word.

While I’ve got your attention, what’s your favourite dinosaur?


So I checked out the 24 Artists 24 Hours art show recently. It was held at a great gallery on Hastings called Sheppard’s Pie . You can get more info on the event .

I dropped by on Saturday night about 6:30, and painting, drawing, sculpting, glassblowing and recording were all well underway. I’d come mainly to see my good buddy Alex Stewart, and offer my support (and a can of Full Throttle), but I ended up meeting a whole bunch of great, very talented local artists, any of whom I’d gladly go see again.

Alex had several pieces started when we got there, and over the next few hours we watched him work on all of them – one stencil at a time. The whole process was mesmerizing to witness. I decided then and there to interview Alex for this blog.

A few pics, then, before we get to the interview itself:

Now that you’ve survived the 24 Artists 24 Hours show, what’s next on the horizon for you? Besides sleep, I mean.

Hah, oh and sleep I did, next up is most definitely a few group shows! I’ve met a lot of wicked artists in the past few months and really enjoy the collaborative process.

What are your longterm plans, if any?

Future plans include many things mainly starting up my own studio and gallery, I would love to be able to help other artists in a more substantial way. That and I have so many ideas floating around in my head I would truly love to start working collaboratively more often and having a dedicated space for that would simply be amazing.

I’m really diggin’ your multi-layered stencil technique. How’d you develop that? Did it come from your automotive painting, or is it more of a graffiti thing?

Honestly, I’m not entirely sure how it all came together, as a kid I remember my mom making stencils to put on whatever she may have been working on, so that could be where it all came from. I could also blame it on my job or my addiction to graffiti, the first time I attempted a multi-layered stencil was just after a rather long session on stumble-upon where I found a video of Logan Hicks working, after that I was hooked.

How do you know when one of the stencil pieces is done?

I never really know when a piece is finished, I’ll cut a stencil one day, spray it the next, and have it hanging in my house for weeks. Then one day I’ll walk by it and think, “god, that is bugging me,” then figure out some way to change it. So I guess what I’m saying is that my pieces are never truly finished in a traditional sense. They keep evolving as long as they are in my possession. Though there are a few exceptions, The skulls from the 24 hour show in my mind are finished, I am beyond happy with how they turned out!

It’s kind of a generic question, but how did you get started drawing and painting? On a related note, are there any other artists in your family?

I’ve been told that as soon as I could hold a crayon I’ve been drawing. But I first started painting when my grandmother attempted to teach me to oil paint, which as you can see by how I work now didn’t entirely stick, I just don’t really have to patience for it. I love oil paintings (I love my grandmothers paintings) but it’s just not my medium. I guess in a way that answers the second part of that question. Both my Grandmother and Mom are artists, so I guess I come from a line of artists.

What other artists inspire you? Which ones would you most like to drink with? (You can include dead ones if you like.)

Hmmmm, artists that inspire me. I could list far to many, so I’ll just list the heavy hitters, Jeff Soto, Logan Hicks, and 2:12 are the three artists who’s work I check regularly just to see what they are up too. They all work in different fashions, that in my mind blend together so well. So I guess if I could bump into all three of them in the same bar, I would seem like a teenage girl at a spice girls concert in the 90s….

Would you say there’s an underlying message to your work?

I’m not sure if there is a hidden message in all of my pieces, some yes, but mostly I just paint what I find beautiful and interesting.

Have you considered any sort of merchandising? Shirts, prints, your own energy drink… ?

This I have put a decent amount of thought into, and am currently working on a few things. So you’ll just have to keep a eye open!

Do you take commissions? What’s the best way for people to contact you?

I do take commissions, when time and demand allows it, I can take on about 2-3 commissions a month depending on what else life throws at me. The best way to get ahold of me is either by email ([email protected]) or just find me on twitter (@Enlifestudio) and get me a shout.

Is there anybody in particular you’d like to give a shoutout to?

Far to many! Mainly my friends and family for putting up with my ridiculousness, more than I care to count have I forgone a social life to paint, and I thank them for not disowning me for it.

Side note, anyone who brought me caffeine during the 24 hour show… I am forever indebted to you!

Thanks, Alex.

Well. As I write this it’s late Monday night. It’s been a pretty mellow day – slept in late, couldn’t really get focused on anything, though I did still get a lot done. Yesterday was a hangover day, though more in the spiritual/mental sense than the physical sense.

But Saturday? Ah, Saturday. That was a fine, fine day.

As you obviously know from previous posts, Saturday was the night of my latest show, Metal Flake Remix. We had a great turnout, and I met lots of new people, which is definitely one of the best perks of being an artist. And I sold lots of art, drank some delicious bourbon, and created six new paintings:

After the show, I sat up with a handful of close friends all night talking (okay, and occasionally drinking). By Sunday afternoon it felt like the day after the prom – I was tired and burned out, but very happy. And it felt like I’d taken a huge step in my life.

I definitely want to try live art again. What an amazing experience – I was nervous as hell about trying it, but once I got started I couldn’t have stopped if I tried. The music, the momentum, the amazing people watching, all combined to give me one hell of a kick in the ass. I know I have a lot to learn about this, of course – how to draw the audience in more, how to control the pace a little better, how not to blaze through all the work in just 20 minutes. But I’ll get there, with practice.

Some of my favourite moments – Kelly winning the painting we drew for, finally meeting some longtime Twitter friends face-to-face, putting the big blue handprint everywhere, tequila shots, having friends from the bad old days in Charlottetown on hand…

Plans are already afoot for upcoming shows, too. The Dino Show is tentatively scheduled for September, and I wouldn’t mind incorporating some live art into that as well. Closing Time is still a going concern, too (I’d really like to take my time and think that one through, though). And then there’s For a Dancer – those six paintings could conceivably be finished by early August. Not sure yet what will happen there, but it’d be nice to have a one-night mini-exhibit in a restaurant.

I certainly don’t want to oversaturate the market, so to speak. Fortunately my agent/marketing manager is passing on a ton of great advice in that regard, and in others as well.

So without further ado, some people I really need to thank: my family, John Watson and Imagemaker Photographic Studio, Kate MacDonald, Alex Stewart, Cosca Restaurant, the Après-midi Teahouse, Bailey Hunter, Lindsay Bayne, Derek Bolen and Karm from VanCity Buzz, Abbey Jackson, Kelle Belle, Dale Deruiter, Karina Halle and Team EiT, Corinna and Adam Carlson, Lola Frost, Lori Kittelberg, George Smeltzer, Samantha K, Matty Sadorf, Ned Tobin, Jonny Warkentin, Scott Graham, Oddball Workshop, Annie Friesen and Dottie’s Buttons, Jamie Lee Purgavie, Nicola Proctor, Cynthia Griffiths, John Lee, Ceci Graber, Andrea Waters, Geoff Gauthier, Steve Goodman, Mike Watson, Johnny B, Novo Pizzeria, MCNG Marketing, Felice Lam, Cathy Browne, Anthony Wittrock, David Dreger, Amanda West…

… and of course, in the Without-Whom Department: Tess McCann .

(Photo by Lindsay Bayne. All other photos courtesy of Cynthia Griffiths .)


So my latest show has come and gone. I’ll do a more indepth post in the next couple days, but for now I’ll just show you a few choice moments.

The day started with mimosas and grilled cheese for the Lovely Assistant and I:

(Go Habs!)

Once we got to the studio, we got all the necessary supplies ready:

Along one wall I showed the evolution of the Metal Flake series.

Of particular interest to many people were the seahorse and “For a Dancer” paintings, but those were already spoken for:

All too soon, we got to the live-art portion of the show:

(As you can see, painting is thirsty work.)

The live-painting portion of the show over with, it was time for some social activity:

Photos courtesy of Corinna Carlson, Cynthia Griffiths, Ian A. Martin, Jocelyn Aspa, Lola Frost, Lyndsay Bayne, Scott Graham, Steve Goodman, and the incomparable Tess McCann.

Thank you, everybody.


Greetings and salutations. The big day approaches, all too rapidly. I’m slowly getting things together, but the usual pre-show stress (and accompanying insomnia) have already started.

Fortunately, painting takes the edge off, so it’s good I still have new metalflake pieces in the works. Just finished this one today:

I may do a dragon on a blue background next.

I’m aiming for 24 paintings (and 3 prints) for sale, plus another 4 on display.

And before I know it, it’ll be Friday and I’ll be painting live in front of a crowd. No pressure…


Two weeks from tonight, as you may already know, I’m putting on a new art show. The title is Metal Flake Remix , and as the title suggests, it’ll rework visual elements from the original Metal Flake show last fall.

The key difference is, this show will be mainly about live art. I’ll be whipping up a new series of paintings on the spot, in front of an audience. I’m aiming for six paintings of various sizes, done mainly with spraypaint and stencils – stencils based on the white lineart designs I used on the original series. I’m as curious as anybody to see how all that will turn out.

There’ll also be several new metalflake paintings available. And I’ll have a handful of older pieces for sale, as I’m trying to clear some of the clutter out of my studio and move forward with my art..

Further to that, if you’re planning to attend, bring a business card for the fishbowl – we’ll be holding a draw to give away one of the paintings.

The show will be in the same venue as January’s art sale: Imagemaker Photographic Studio (210-2075 Yukon Street at 4th).

Doors will open at 6:00PM, and the paint will start to fly around 7:00. Hope you can make it.


Preeeesenting:


It’s finally summer here in the GVRD*. And what better way to spend a summer weekend than being immersed in art?

Friday night, bring a proud, card-carrying member of the Vancouver Art gallery, I attended the Collecting Matisse and Modern Masters opening. I honestly had no idea Matisse was so prolific, much less in so many mediums. His pen-and-ink work in particular really caught my eye – the linework was beautiful, and so fluid.

It was nice to see another Van Gogh and another Renoir, too. I feel a real kinship for Vincent in particular.

Saturday was mostly spent outside in the park, barbecuing and soaking up the sun with friends. That night we moved the festivities back to my buddy Mike’s place for drinks and general good times, before closing the night at the Dover Arms. While we were all at Mike’s, I whipped up a couple more Sketchbook Diary entries, including this ashtray:

And today (Sunday) I’ve been working on the playlist for next month’s Metalflake Remix show. I haven’t sorted all the details yet, but it’ll be taking place the night of Saturday, June 16, and I’ll be creating live art all night (expect an official announcement very soon).

In other art news, potential new painting concepts seem to be popping into my head on a daily basis now. Here’s a couple to tantalize you:

Hope everybody else’s summer is off to a great start.

*Greater Vancouver Regional District.


Had a very nice walk home through the West End via the quieter side streets last night. Felt like I hit a level of inner peace that I haven’t felt in a long, long time.

Now as you may or may not know, the past year has been an incredibly tumultuous one for yours truly. Every couple months has been marked by another sea change – one dramatic shift in tone, content, mood, cast, dialogue, conflict, theme, plot, etc. after another. Bret Taylor circa August of 2011, for example, would be floored by the day-to-day (and especially night-to-night) life of the Bret Taylor from a mere month in the future.

And so it goes.

For a long time I got lost in all this, just struggling to keep my head above water. Maintaining any sense of perspective was an nice idea in the abstract sense, but an impossibility in practical terms. So I did what anyone would do: I tried to keep it on the path, and I adjusted my worldview as I went, based on the current day’s data.

And ultimately? I failed.

You heard me. Failed. And miserably, at that – I lost my path altogether. Let some very (very) important people down, couldn’t live up to heartfelt promises and blood oaths. I dropped the fucking ball altogether, if you must know. Paid an absurdly high price for that failure, too. And in the process lost more than I even knew I had to lose – more than I could ever handle losing again. But then, nobody said any of this was fair , right? I mean, fairness is great as a utopian ideal. But how many times have you actually seen it play out in front of you? Once? Twice?

Be honest.

So. This brings us to yesterday. The morning started out with disappointing news, albeit not the kind of news that could change a man’s life (a cancelled date, if you must know). Yet that news hit me hard, out of all sense of proportion and in a way that left me off-kilter for most of the day. Even my old standby, paint therapy, absolutely could not snap me out of it (of course I publicly blamed paint therapy).

This has never, to my recollection, happened before. A real measure of how far adrift I am right now, you might correctly surmise. I had honestly thought the method to be infallible.

In the end I dragged my much-bruised and abused ego into the kitchen and focused my flagging energies on sustenance instead. Whipped up a mindblowing batch of meaty, chipotle-dominated chili. And when the bulk of that work was done and I was waiting for the mixture to reduce, I turned my attention back to the painting in question.

And goddamn, but everything flowed . Hit exactly the right marks when mixing my glazes – tone, saturation, volume. The highly-reflective silver bits (my trusty Tri-Art Liquid Mirror) drybrushed over the glass bead gel took the phthalo blue and alizarin crimson glazes perfectly . Ditto the more subtle highlights I’d carefully worked in over the past few days.

Then I went out to visit friends. Had a couple drinks, talked some things over, watched some TV. Y’know, everyday stuff.

And made that fateful walk home. And the rest you know. I guess the lesson here is, the therapy won’t take when you’re not receptive to it. But it’ll work when you’re ready.

Deep, I know.

Bret Taylor
May 6, 2012.
(Not to be confused with the Bret Taylors of September 2011 or January 2012.)

Soundtrack – “Hold On”, by the Alabama Shakes.


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.


Finished:

12×24 inches, acrylic on canvas.


So yesterday’s sale was a smashing success. I commandeered the studio at Imagemaker Photographic Studio , lots of good, fun people showed up, paintings and prints were sold, and a good time was had by all. The show wasn’t even started before several prints were already sold, and with the guidance of a few friends, the momentum kept going as we turned the sale into a bit of a Twitter event (#BretsBigArtSale).

(Photo courtesy of George Smeltzer – GSCameraworks )

I was really touched by how much effort people made to promote the sale. Plenty of mentions, retweets, photos and link sharing on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Right off the bat, I should thank these fine people:

John & Chrissy Watson, George Smeltzer, Lori Kittelberg, Patti Catroppa, Ceci Graber, Brandy Trudeau, Jeff Hornby, Donna Jay-Crowe, Adam Carlson, Ned Tobin, Nikki Cruickshank, Nicola Rueschmann, Richard Finch, Adé Win, Vincent Ng, everybody at Cosca and Novo, Nicola Rueschmann, Yvonne Milroy, Matty Sadorf, April Trasy, Valarie H., Kimli, Stephanie Insixiengmay, Anthony Wittrock, DaDe Art & Design Lab,  Vancouver Vantage, Carly Fryer, BC Berrie, Lora Jean, John Bell, Jenn Ashton, Lola Frost, Louise Perrin, Ashley November, Steve Kubien, and of course my family.

Sold a set of 6 bourbon prints, a Jack Daniel’s print, the Crow’s Funeral painting I did in tribute to my good friends Lisa and Paul in Mojave , etc. etc. I was sort of sad to see this one go, but at least it went to a good home:

(Photo courtesy of Brandy Trudeau)

In the midst of all the wining and dining and wheeling and dealing, I managed to get a little sketching in:

(Photo courtesy of Tess McCann)

And of course, adult beverages were provided to keep spirits up (see what I did there?). There’s still a bit of wine left in my fridge, but the tequila didn’t survive:

After 6 hours we packed up the paintings and called it a night. Only thing left to do at that point was celebrate with vodka and poutine.

Thank you one and all for a stellar day. Let’s do it again sometime soon.

P.S. Thanks to everyone who put up with my twitchiness and general neurosis on the days leading up to the sale. Apparently I’m always going to be a bit of a mess right up to the point where a sale/show starts.


Running a bit late, but this is yesterday’s shotglass pic:

Drew and painted it last night after supper, but there wasn’t time to scan it before I had to go to a birthday party.

Watercolour, charcoal.


For tonight’s entertainment, I proudly present with:

Ink, watercolour, coloured pencil.


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