Volume 12 Week 5

Tuesday, Nov. 6


Updated March 7

Posted Dec. 16

online survey

Phil McNeely
Posted Oct. 245 2

Mike Taylor

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.

Picking 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 school.

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.

His influences 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 papa.mike@sympatico.ca. 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.

View examples of Mike Taylor's work

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