artists

A work in progress

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He was a beautiful corpse. That phrase keeps popping up in my mind. I think it’s the first line of my book. The book that’s inside me that I need to write.

I keep painting about him, hinting, being ambiguous, hoping others will connect with my paintings because they are slightly vague and more universally appealing, and at the same time including specific details so the people who knew him and loved him will recognize that my work is about him.

Jeff.

My book will be very specific. It will probably be described as heart wrenchingly tragic but sweetly beautiful. Certain people will probably disapprove and want me to keep quiet. But there will come a time when that swirl of feelings, visions, emotions leap out of me and into an organized pattern of words that tell the story.

In the meantime, I’ll keep painting. Now it’s his leather jacket. There’s still a cigarette butt in the pocket.

A work in progress….

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Who says you can’t have Marilyn Monroe’s boobs…

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I was painting self portraits of my tattoos and I used this photo of Marilyn as a reference when I painted my boobs because the lighting was better and it was easier to see than the selfies I took for reference. Yea, that’s it…the lighting, right…

My most favorite painting professor taught me that you don’t need to paint the bits that you’re not happy with, you can leave out the double chin, the crows feet if you want to, it’s your painting; it doesn’t have to be exactly realistic.

Isn’t that artistic license?

 

Wrought Not Bought

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Wrought Not Bought by Jeff Taylor

Once there was a piano. It was old and worn, with chipped paint and panels hanging off its hinges. It looked like it had been loved and played for years.

It was donated to the United Arts Council in Greensboro, NC, along with several other pianos. The Arts Council came up with this great idea to have local artists embellish the pianos with their own artwork, each piano unique to the artist. Then the pianos would be auctioned off as part of the first 17 Days festival to promote the arts in the Triad, NC area in October 2012.

The pianos were delivered to Lyndon Street Artworks, an big ancient warehouse which housed artist studios and a gallery, a place full of working artists, artwork in various stages of completion, and a variety of materials and things just waiting to find themselves into new works of art. The pianos could have easily been lost among all the other stuff. They were wheeled into one of the vacant studio spaces and there they sat on casters for a short time. Each of them old and worn, but each of them seeming to shine, to call out to the artists, to entice them with their potential.

Jeff Taylor was one of the artists who worked at Lyndon Street. He had a studio there full of various bits and baubles, pieces of material, objects…all sorts of things that would comprise the wondrous things he created.

Jeff walked past these old pianos each day on his way to his studio. He told me about the plans for these pianos and said he wasn’t going to bother doing one, he was working on other stuff. One of the pianos in particular must have called to him and convinced him to work on it. So he decided he’d be a part of the project.

I was delighted. It was so much fun watching (and documenting) the process. It was so fantastic to see him immersed in this work, doing what he loved – shaping red hot metal into beautiful spirals and swirls. A true blacksmith at heart, each precise bang on the metal sounded like a musical note. I watched beautiful things appear that were once just scraps of metal.

When the piano was finished Jeff named it “Wrought Not Bought” and it went on display at Elsewhere in Greensboro before being auctioned off. The piano found a home where it could be loved and played again. Where it could stand proudly in a prominent place among the hustle and bustle of a loving family with a young boy who would play it.

…Fast forward seven months or so…

Shortly after Jeff’s death in May 2012, in my compulsion to view and/or collect and cherish everything Jeff ever made, I somehow found the contact info for the person who purchased the piano. I emailed her and asked her to please consider me if and when they ever decided to replace the piano with a new one and sell this one. She agreed to contact me.

…Fast forward again… Five or so years go by and I receive a text message out of the blue. It’s someone asking if mine is the correct phone number. They’re looking for someone named Kelly de Silva. It’s about a piano.

I gasped! And then quickly replied…

It was the woman who purchased Jeff’s piano in the auction. She said they were buying a new piano and asked if I was interested in Jeff’s piano! I quickly said yes and we worked out all the details. And then a day later I had this beautiful piano in my living room.

A couple of the nicest guys moved it into my house. (They graciously offered to move it for free after hearing the piano’s story.) After wrestling it up the stairs, they placed it in the perfect spot. Then one of them played me a tune on it – a jaunty happy honkey tonk type song. It was great to have my little house filled with music!

After they left I dusted the piano and ran my hands along all of the curves of metal that Jeff had created with the hands that I loved so much. I had almost forgotten just how beautiful his work was!

Now whenever I look at it I feel so grateful and so lucky that it came back to me! What a truly sweet and wonderful thing for that woman to have done – to remember me and actually reach out to me when the time came for them to make room for a new piano. My heart overflows.

Here’s the process and the little journey of this wondrous work of art…

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Whoosh….

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Sometimes it still hits me. Like out of nowhere. I think of him, I feel him. My heart stops for a second. I remember he’s gone.

Five years later and still.

I wonder if that will ever stop. But I don’t really want it to.

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Jeff Taylor, maker of wondrous things, May 2012

This guy’s got bells!

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Why am I such a misfit?

Too timid for the cool kids; too weird for the mainstream. Wondering where my work truely fits in.

Perhaps I don’t let myself say what is fighting to come out, programmed to censor myself, preoccupied with what others will think and say, struggling against some expected confines of what a woman my age should be (whatever the fuck that is) that I absorbed along the way. Worried about embarrassing my sons with my subject matter (But they’ve told me they don’t care if I paint dolls with vaginas!)

Scarred and scared from the manipulation and betrayal of a most recent relationship (But I kicked his ass out! I was triumphant! But the damage remains.) Semi-paralyzed with anxiety, doubt, insecurity…   Fuck that! I’ve got “bells” too! I’m gonna put on my happy clown face and paint them!

Vote for my self portrait…

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Jerry’s 5th Annual Self Portrait Contest is here!

Click here to vote for mine!

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I love Jerry’s Artarama. I buy all my supplies from them…online or when I feel like a roadtrip to Raleigh. They have a fantastic selection and great prices.

the jacket

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He was beautiful and brilliant and funny. That jacket still feels like him. Even though it’s gone through the wash. I can’t wear it. It feels too heavy.

 

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Jacket, oil on canvas, life-sized