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Maybe I’m slow. Or most likely, I don’t pay close attention to the “art world” anymore. But apparently, HENRY TAYLOR (62 yo, California) is a big deal painter and I don’t remember anybody else mentioning him before. I came across his work on Pinterest and read a very good New Yorker review (by Zadie Smith, no less) and still I thought...meh.

But the other night I spent an hour just looking at as much of his work as I could find. (Something got through, apparently.) He has a few straight-on sitting portraits that are okay, but when he places a person into their “environment,” it becomes a damn good painting. IMO. The compositions look balanced but, satisfyingly complex. The colors are rich and thoughtfully placed. (His blocky forms remind me of Colorforms. Remember those?) What I like best though, is his quick and loose - or spontaneous - style, and a personal and honest narrative that he captures so naturally. His work FEELS fresh and open although, it LOOKS a little old-fashioned. But I think his world, his vision, and his place, seems perfectly relevant to...right now.

WIKI: Taylor's painterly style has been variously described as sensuous, vibrant, bold, fast and loose, full of empathy, generosity, and love, and the visual equivalent to blues music, while retaining a profound critical social sensibility.

Cicely and Miles Visit the Obamas

The Darker the Berry, the Sweeter the Juice

Everyone’s Momma


Walking with Vito

Man on Horseback in Naples, TX

The Times Thay Aint a Changing, Fast Enough! (Philando Castile)
Thanks for the intro to his work Olive. I am here and never heard of him. I rather like a few of these. Not all. It's Outsider art-ish, but has a fresher look than that. They don't remind me of Colorforms though, but that was one of my favorite things as a kid, especially the Peanuts ones. That bottom painting is particularly well balanced as far as composition. I like the woman's dress standing at the clothesline, and really love aspects of The Darker the Berry, the Sweeter the Juice, though maybe not the background. What can I say? I'm picky!
Yeah, I don’t like everything he does, that’s for sure. But he seems to be a current “star,” (not that we’re supposed to “care” about that, I know, I know). But for those that pay attention to contemporary art...he’s...there.

Tidbits from what I’ve read and that I remember...His father was a commercial sign painter, his grandfather was shot and killed, he worked in a mental hospital, he paints on cardboard and anything else he gets his hands on, got a late start at 48 (I think it was), and although self-taught, rejects the label of “outsider.”

It’s just nice to see someone with his “regular person” background, and who truly loves people and has sort of a positive and humorous outlook...achieve success. That’s all, really.
Talk about the current art stars, while I was Googling around doing my SEO stuff, I came across this artist I'd never heard of, Danny Fox, and he also lives in LA (not that I do anymore, but I still identify as a Los Angeles artist), and his work looks a little Outsidery too. he's also into Bukowski and we just have a lot in common. He's self taught and addresses a lot of Los Angeles angles in his work...even though he's from the UK, many articles about him attach him to LA as if he's a bonafide Angeleno or something. He came up a lot in the "weird contemporary art" searches, which was how I found him. He's represented by big galleries that also show Basquiat. His work looks a bit like he's influenced by him. Anyway, I guess I got a little jealous? He's younger than I am and lives about a mile away from where I just moved from. It sort of feels like, it could have been me? Or...I don't know. I wonder how he got so famous over night, like he moved to LA from the UK and viola! How did that happen? I guess it's because his work is very cool and exciting. That's just the way the art world works. If you make what people are into, then you get popular. Duh. Agnes Martin once said something like, "you can go in with the trend, but you can go out with the trend too," as if it's a ocean tide.
It’s funny that as I was looking at Taylor’s paintings, I kept seeing Danny Fox’s work who IS similar in style. Are they a “trend” of something happening, I wonder? Non-outsiders who LOOK like outsiders? Like I said, I don’t know what’s happening anymore “out there” in Contemporary Art Land. But I have to think that LA is still a hub of a lot of it. And if that’s true, it’s got to be extremely hard to break through all the noise (fierce competition).

(BTW, my kid just informed me she’s moving to LA, without a job, and during this pandemic. So I’m not sure if I should like the place right now. Or not.)
Los Angeles is wonderful! The best place on earth. So many different types of people that come here from all over the world. Every one of them have a creative drive and are interesting people. I don't care what people outside of LA say about this city. It's alive with beauty. She will thrive here. It's not like NY where she would get eaten up. Plus it is sprawl, so social distance is a lot easier here.
Los Angeles is wonderful!
I have to agree with that. I’ve always enjoyed my time there, I lived there for awhile around 1970, and spent a lot of time there from around 2000-2010. I think what I enjoyed most was all the different communities, and the fact that people were generally pretty friendly. Alas I do prefer cool, damp weather and lots of empty space, so here I am on the opposite corner of the continent :)

I do like the work of artists like the one you’ve posted, Henry Taylor. I also found it interesting that he is formally trained, with a BFA from CalArts in ‘95.