Mike Taylor's interest
in art goes back to his childhood. He remembers watching television artist
Jon Gnagy demonstrate his drawing technique when he was only four years old.
Mike was impressed with the marks laid down by the artist and this television
show probably contributed to his continued belief that he could someday become
an artist if he so chose.
up extra art courses throughout high school provided more practice with various
media. An art award by twelfth grade gave him further encouragement to attend
one year at the Ontario College of Art in Toronto.
Like many of us,
life interferes. A period of almost twenty years of working in various fields
and living in different parts of the country followed. Edmonton, Winnipeg,
Yellowknife, Toronto and Montreal were all called home at one time or another.
During those years Mike did the occasional painting, but mainly dreamed of
having the time to really concentrate on improving his basic skills.
After moving to
Ottawa in 1996, Mike stayed home to raise his son. As his son got older and
entered school, Mike began to work again. He mostly did part-time, odd jobs
acquired through friends so that he could be home when his son returned from
2004 brought Mike
to a turning point in his life. Now middle-aged, it was time to either grab
a hold of the old dream of becoming an artist, or
? Not liking the
second option, Mike began to work seriously at his art-making, carving out
space wherever he could. He also joined a couple of arts organizations.
Upon joining Arteast,
Mike discovered there were five days before the jurying of their themed show
"Refuge". He scrambled and finished a painting. It was accepted
into the show his first group exhibition! Mike immediately became a
highly active member of Arteast, taking on the co-ordinator role for Arteast's
exhibitions at the Gloucester Gallery and making other valuable contributions
to the organization.
All that hard work,
interaction and co-ordination with the City paid off. One of many candidates
interviewed, Mike was selected as the part-time Co-ordinator for the two City
of Ottawa galleries (Gloucester and Cumberland galleries) at 255 Centrum Blvd.
Mike's love of
the natural world comes through in his work. With more experience, he is moving
away from literal expression to something new. He works with a "what-if"
approach, as in "what if I try this colour?" or "what if I
turn this form upside down?" or "what if I just paint the whole
thing over and start again?"
He enjoys coming
up with new environments or familiar environments experienced from different
points of view. This approach could be a result of all of the moves he has
made around the country. It has given him the ability to see more than one
side to any story. Ideas constantly bubble up from every brushstroke; layers
of meaning are laid down and taken away before the work is declared fit to
leave the studio.
are many, but a strong association with western art of the first half of the
last century provides the foundation for Mike's vision. Subject matter could
range from rocks and trees, to people, to basic celebrations of form and colour.
Humour is never far away from his work. Titles such as "Prairie Mary",
"Hoo-Diddly-Doo" and "My Boy CatBoy" help to balance the
more sombre works.
His current work
is mainly abstract, which dovetailed neatly with Arteast's all abstract show
at the Gloucester Gallery (March 22 to April 26, 2006), but a form of surrealism
is in play as well. Not one to be pinned down stylistically for long, Mike
Taylor will continue to search for that hidden trail over the rocks, behind
the trees, and over the sunsets he loves most dearly.
To see more of
Mike's work, visit www.miketaylor.ca.,
or email Mike directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mike's work can also be seen in Rothwell Gallery's group shows; the next one
is scheduled for the month of July. He is also planning to enter the upcoming
Arteast members' show (Black, White and In-Between) which will run from September
14 to October 17, 2006 at the Gloucester Gallery on Centrum.
examples of Mike Taylor's work
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