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Get Acquainted with a Creative Acrobat; Gail Taylor

Get Acquainted with a Creative Acrobat; Gail Taylor

 

Meet Gail Taylor, 50, a local artist who takes on anything in the creative. Recently launching her own line of house decor called the Botanical Collection, this artist has hit a major milestone, putting her love of design and painting together.

Taylor is a self-proclaimed “creative acrobat”. This artist, turned designer, turned decorator and all in one visionary has had 30 years being a “jack of all trades”. Her passion for art and design have been flourishing, especially with a move to Vancouver 12 years ago from LA, being a mother to her 13 year old son is her “most prized creation”. Now Taylor resides in Vancouver, where her art studio can be found on West 4th.

 

Your an award winning designer and painter. Congratulations. How did you decide this was what you were going to do with your life?

I don’t think I ever really decided, I feel as though I have always been on some sort of creative train. I really wanted to be a dancer and an artist at a young age. After hurting my back in my late teens, I focused in on the artistic side of myself. Realizing that I could actually make a living painting on faces, I set out at a very early age to study special effects make-up. That lead to a 10 year Career as a make-up artist. After 2 years in London England, at the age of 20 I moved to Los Angeles to get into film. I am a doer, I like to keep moving and life of a make-up artist, especially on film and TV, was too slow. But having found a love for filmmaking, I set out to be a director. Then after years of pursuing that, things lead me to doing  event design on the side, which then became a full blown career. That seems to be how things happen for me one thing leads to another!

But, no matter how I make my money… I have always continued to paint and grow as an artist.

Where do you find inspiration for your paintings?

I feel like I have always been drawn to the surreal. I remember being in elementary school and learning about the Group of Seven… Lawren Harris was my favourite. I also love Rene Magritte and Remedios Varo. So when I paint something like a rose or a portrait, I tend to put my own slant on it.

Currently I do a lot of commission work and my approach there is to work with clients closely, to tap into their imagination. Most of the time I work on photoshop first to create the piece, as close as I can and then upon their final approval, do I then begin to paint. I love this way of collaboration, it’s quite magical. I also gets me out of my comfort zone and challenges me to paint in styles I never imagined I could.

Get Acquainted with a Creative Acrobat; Gail Taylor

You’ve designed parties such as the Oscars, Grammy Awards and the MTV awards. You are now working with the River Rock and Edgewater Casino. What does this entail?

For the past 3 years I/we have been decorating the River Rock Hotel and Casino for Christmas and last year added the Edgewater Casino. I love these jobs! They are quite the undertaking, especially River Rock, because we do every inch of the venue. I have a large crew of incredibly creative artists come in with me for more than a week and like little elves we transform the place.

For 10 years in LA, I ran an design company, called Vagabond Shu Productions. There we were known as the ‘Dr. Seuss of Event Design’. That is my approach here I think as well, I love to make things whimsical, playful, surreal and unexpected!

 

 

Your interior design work has been seen on the W network and HGTV. How was that experience?

Working in reality TV is intense. It’s fast paced and very detailed. I enjoyed most of it, I really like designing make-overs for people as a surprise! There is a tremendous amount of creative freedom in that. I love the challenge of getting into the minds of a client and then bringing to life their personalities in the décor! It’s always such a rewarding feeling when you have nailed it!

Get Acquainted with a Creative Acrobat; Gail Taylor

What is your main love, interior design or painting?

Oh… that’s a tough one! I don’t know really, as much as I love to paint, it’s a very solitaire job. I really like to collaborate with people, I love working with my crew! But at the same time, renovations can be stressful and take way too long sometimes, all the details and logistics.

For the past year I have added shop window design to my portfolio, I love that too. Basically, I get to create public art, that’s been so much fun! Again, I get to be as whimsical as I can and spend time in my studio making crazy props.

 

You moved to Vancouver from Los Angeles, how was that change? Did you have a hard time adjusting to a different pace of life?

We moved to Vancouver nearly 12 years ago now, after spending 18 years in LA. At the time our son was 1 year old, so I think I embraced the slower pace. For the first few years here all I did was paint. Now years later, I suppose I have grown used to the difference, it’s healthier, that’s for sure. Though I do miss the glamour of that other world sometimes, I had a lot of fun playing in the sandbox with the majors.

In Los Angeles there is this mystical pull… ‘if you can dream it, you can create it!’ So, at the time, I got to do some amazing gigs, larger than life. It was also a time, when money was no object, but I think that has changed now, in fact I clearly remember after 9/11, everything changed for most people in my field. Budgets got smaller and designs got scaled back. We all refer to those times ‘As the good old days!’

 

Now that you’re in Vancouver, what would be a normal day for you?

I don’t think I really have a ‘normal day’, every day is completely different from the other. Although I do have a bit of a morning ritual… getting my boy off to school (high school now), then I take our dog for a lovely walk by the water and park, we live in False Creek. Most days I will also go to my community garden by the water and tend to my vegetables. Then it’s computer work, running around (a lot of shopping for clients), building props at my studio, meetings, site visits, more computer work and so on…I love it all!

 

Where in Vancouver do you like to escape to find inspiration?

Nature for sure! I love to walk, especially by water or in the forest. It restores me instantly and brings me peace. This is one of the most beautiful cities I have been in, I never get tired of looking at the skyline against the mountains.

Get Acquainted with a Creative Acrobat; Gail Taylor

Where are your favourite places to eat in Vancouver?

My family and I love Sushi, so that tends to be our ‘go to’ food of choice when we eat out. But, there are so many other great restaurants in this town. I love Salade De Fruits on 7th, a quaint little place on 7th with amazing French food. Lupo in Yaletown, has some of the best Italian food I’ve tasted and being half Italian, I love great pasta and for delicious Mediterranean food and a beautiful view, our favourite local place Brannas, on the seawall.

 

Is there anything you think our readers should know about you and your designs?

Oh wow, nothing like saving the toughest question for last! I guess it would be that I have a passion to create! It is so woven into my DNA, that it is what fuels me. Whether I am creating a spooky haunted house with a grade 7 class of kids, painting a $2000 commission piece, staging an 8 million dollar house or designing a shop window for a toy store, it all feeds my soul the same way.

I love that I get to wake up each day to something new, I love that I can co-create and be inspired by my crew, my clients and my friends.

 

If you want to add some flare to your house, check out the Botanical Collection. You can also check out all of Taylor’s upcoming works and shop her artwork on her site.

 

Interview by Megan Renaud

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