Neon Enhances New Sculpture - Work in progress

I finished three intensive years managing the Helen Sommers Building during the end of design and start and end of construction as well as helping with the move-in processes from Olympia while living during the week in an apartment a 10 minute walk from the field office across from the project.  I worked as an employee of the Washington State Department of Enterprise Services as the Project Director acting as the management lead and the owner until the end of February 2018.    Since I had very little time in the last three years working in Olympia and decompressing on the weekends in Seattle I spent much less time producing and promoting my art.

After a month off, I accepted a new project manager position, again with DES working mostly from my Seattle home office and managing all state funded planning, design and construction projects for Shoreline Community College and North Seattle College.  The new position for the Seattle schools started March 1, 2018 and though the intensity of a new way to work on many projects is challenging I will now have more time to work in my shops and studios in Seattle and have noticed an slight uptick of work during some evenings and weekends. Hopefully the learning curve of the new state job will lessen and give me even more time in the off hours in the next several months and in the future.

Several of the present works in progress and future work will have neon tubes. I had the honor of learning at Western Neon's classrooms and studios during a session I took with my daughter during some evenings and weekends in January, February and March.  I have made sculpture for years based on my conceptual view of work, often employing  sawtooth roofs on factories and sometimes adding site planning or landscape surrounding work places representing a broader narrative in the pieces.  A decade ago I thought it curious that the second Bush presidency was going to depend on technology to solve the world's environmental problems instead of reducing our carbon footprint.  This led to a variety of sculptures that imagined sites that could control the character of the atmosphere improving the quality of air and focusing the sun's energy to produce better crop yields, create clean educational jobs and reduce pollution.  The "factories" in this case were neutral or positive in their being.  The latest sculptural mock-up shows neon tube inserts I learned to bend using some custom tube holders to keep a double back shape's double tube legs parallel while giving both simultaneously a 90 degree twist. One of many tubes bent was successful. One of the instructors for the Western Neon class welded electrodes to the tube and it lit up well.  After one mock-up for the plexiglass base for the neon and the wood factory a second factory was reduced in length and the neon tube was laid in without the final supports as shown in the following images. 

Are these industrial compounds used for good or just profit? Does the neon tube refer to a new substance gathered from earth or from beyond?   Will the public ever know what this really does or the source of energy. Will it be open to discovery, shared openly?  Will there be an interpretive center for visiting and viewing these installations? 

This is a mock up and there will probably be a half dozen iterations made with sheet acrylic, wood, some in steel, maybe some with cast or fused glass components, maybe some ceramic components. Hope to make the finished pieces soon.

neon side over factory.JPG
factoty side over neon.JPG
factory neon end.JPG

Jon Taylor in Seattle Times article for Easter

For the last two years I have working and doing a weekly commute down to Olympia, living there for four days and working remotely on Fridays then relaxing and enjoy the weekends in Seattle. This leaves little time for writing about my art. Even with the time needed and the stress of being the 1063 Block Replacement Project Director, I still have time to produce artwork.  As part of my ethics training and job requirements, I choose, as most ethical government employees do - not to use any State systems to promote my artwork. That doesn’t mean I can’t talk to my work mates about what I do, I just can’t promote my work in any State forum or use any State hardware or software for my business. So, even though I use art as meditation to counteract a daily grind on a highly stressful job that I enjoy immensely, I am still producing a great amount of thoughtful work.

Here is one example of a recent mock-up I did for the Seattle Times  using my love of working with wood and plexiglass for sculpture after asked by the Seattle Times if I would like to submit an interpretation of some piece for the Easter Holiday. Below the image is the written copy from the Times.



"Jon Taylor is an architect and artist. He created his barge or flat-bottomed boat design from plywood, plexiglass sheets, wooden eggs and mirrors. “I chose a barge as a place that people could be separated from their land-based lives to celebrate in a large formalized barge …” Taylor said. (Photo by Jon Taylor)

Growing up in Salem, Oregon in the 1950’s through the early 1970s, it was an unspoken rule (mostly emanating from an evil-eye from my formidable mother, Bertha, a good Southerner from Baton Rouge, Louisiana) that our family would attend the First Christian Church every Sunday, maybe two or three times during the day for an early church, a coffee hour, Sunday school and as you got into junior high and high school you would be expected to do youth groups in the evening with possible Saturday outings mixed in.  In 1975 I married a beautiful Catholic woman and had to learn about the church and do some rituals to make sure I wouldn’t compromise her faith before we married. As time and attitudes moved on neither my wife or I attended church until our kids in their youth went to a Bible day camp with some neighbors. All sorts of innocent questions arose, we looked at Disciples of Christ and Catholic churches in Seattle and after a 10 church visit we decided on St. Joseph’s on Capitol Hill where many other parents of our age were conflicted about organized religion and as a group persevered through the kids' religious curiosity. We all attended for about 10 years then slowly dropped out of the need to go. As an architect and world traveler to England, Scotland, France, Germany, India, Russia as well as visiting all around the States and a bit of Canada and Mexico I have been particularly interested in religious places and the history of that part of architecture.

I wouldn’t say I have lost the faith, but I am more skeptical about religion and yet more open to other’s beliefs. I certainly feel the work I do on art is reflective, meditative and a vehicle to search for order, beauty and calm in all its forms. I don't think this "replaces" religion for me, but it certainly gives me peace. This work was done for a photo that would be manipulated in PhotoShop, but the Seatlle Times really wanted the base photo, un-retouched.  I was happy to oblige, even though that wasn’t the intent of the piece. The photo was really to use as a base to add clarity and color, but it still worked with the story of how you may meditate around a dozen symbolic eggs - and whatever they contain - and what could that piece be made of in this Northwest land of wood and water. I had recently done a sculpture from some mill ends of slabs I was joining together for a work bench that had been shaped into a sea going freighter. I tried and made a carriage for a dozen eggs for the freighter.  That was fine, but it wasn’t quite right so I  made a much better scaled version of a barge then added a trellis, a ramp, a dock and some toy float planes that were already appropriately scaled then put a couple of one foot square mirrors underneath to approximate water.

Here was what I would have considered the final, but I like the Seattle Times inclination to be honest about their photos and their ethics of not manipulating photos. In some ways this works well on the screen, but looses it's illumination in print. As well as other manipulations, I wanted to express that ancient eggs for Easter or any other proceeding rebirth or Spring festivals were red.


Ballard Art Walk at Captains with Artist Jon Taylor present August 13, 2016

What a summer! Working daily in Olympia during the week on the 1063 Block Replacement Project as the State of Washington Department of Enterprise Services Project Director since January 2015. The project is just about to complete its concrete slab holding the roof, large skylight and a vast array of photo voltaic panels in September. Only about a year to go for Final Completion for this five story 82 million dollar project for over 700 state office workers.

In June and July I was asked by two different friends on short notices if I would like to have a show first at Captain's Supply in Ballard for July and August and a second show at Johnston Architects for August as a second artist to fill up the gallery. Reluctantly, but with interest I told the galleries I would fill their spaces up with work within the last year or so and have several new pieces for each show. Although a lot of effort especially since I live in Seattle from late Friday night to early Monday morning most weekends. 

The shows are different, the "Prints, Paintings and Sculpture" show at Captain's is appropriately themed as marine and navigation-centric with smaller newer sculptures using 3D printing and pigmented epoxy as well as more analog materials of wood and steel depicting boats in locks. There are many riffs on a linoleum print called Speed Sail showing different inking techniques and there are a couple of new paintings about sailboats and a variety of mixed media sculptural pieces. 


I will be at Captain's Supply for the final Ballard Art Walk for the show from 6-9pm Saturday August 13, 2016 at 1120 Ballard Way NW Seattle 98107. If you can't make it Saturday to talk about the work I would encourage you to visit during Captain's business hours through August.

The Johnston show is more of a collection of industrial pieces, titled "Industry Simplified" and has a variety of small sculpture on steel bases for a glazed clay or wood pieces and four hanging sculptures of wood and turned wood truncated cones that house turned stainless steel lozenges. There are three very recent Sumi paintings on very rough watercolor made in India that are made with an economy of brush strokes and powerfully depict their simple almost iconic forms. The composition of the work in this gallery space is balanced and adds strength to the pieces. The opening is over, but you are encouraged to visit Johnston Architects during business hours to see the art.

Jon Taylor's "Industry Simplified"

Current sculptures, paintings in acrylic and sumi as well has some well crafted smaller linocuts will be part of Jon Taylor's art at Johnston Architects, Fremont Art Walk, Opening Friday August 5, 2016, 6-8 pm, 100 NE Northlake Way #200 Seattle 98105.

Working in Olympia, WA during the week and doing linocuts and sumi paintings in the evenings, working on art in Seattle studios during the weekends making sculpture out of porcelain, wood, glazes, epoxies, welded bases. Most pieces are depictions of industry or symbolic industrial images and icons.

You can also see Jon Taylor's marine based art simultaneously showing at Captain's Gallery in Ballard through August. See previous post.

Seattle Sampling December 4,5, and 6, 2015

Jon Taylor and Iskra Johnson are joining Ruth Hesse & Steve MacFarlane Studios for this year's Seattle Sampling December 4,5 and 6.

We are all members of an decade old artists critique group called Painters Under Pressure.

Jon will have lino prints, some paintings and several mini and mid size wood and metal sculptures.

This event will be here:

4000 Aurora Ave N #111 & #118
Seattle, WA 98103
Info: (206) 755-8458
ADA accessible: Yes
Additional hrs:  None

New Linocuts available at the TAH online shop!

Taylor Art House is very excited about the recent linocut carving and printing of seven new series of prints with more cuts and variations coming soon. The success of recent mini sculpture sales and anticipation of linocuts arriving should make these unique and affordable pieces popular. A "pop-up" printmaking studio was set up in our heated dining and living room to push this group out for sales.  Great care was taken to make sure correct inks, paper and press leverage all acted together for a series of fresh, simple, direct and archival prints inspired by themes of home, work, place, water, flight and industry.

We are excited about adding color in some of the new series, but wanted to keep this set of prints simple and affordable.

Here are some of the linocuts (and other artworks) for sale at our online shop:

New Mini Sculptures being sold on the TAH online shop!

New Mini Sculptures are being sold on the Taylor Art House online shop. This will be a start at on-line sales that have had a great initial soft start and interest.

The items are a combination of steel and up-cycled Douglas Fir lumber that is anywhere from 60 to 120 years old gathered from various places and remodeling jobs around Seattle.  The steel is usually purchased from Pacific Industrial Supply and is pretty basic carbon steel.  Several buyers that have not been able to be at openings or other sales venues have asked to have smaller items they can keep for themselves or gift to others before they mature into larger purchases,. Some buyers have a bigger piece and want to have more of a keepsake  for them or loved ones. Hopefully pieces that aren't in other retail areas or shows will show up on this retail site as a temporary store before this website is reconstructed next year.  There will be other posts to describe some of the processes that go into these mini-pieces.

Here are some of the Mini-Sculptures we have for sale:

Early anvil cuts on a piece of railroad rail

When I went to see my friend Steve Hussey at Burning Specialties in Georgetown last month and showed him some silver pencil marks I made on a 17" long piece of rail he said he hadn't ever seen anything that heavy or with that big of a section and he has worked with a lot of rail in his fabrication business.  Years ago taking a welding class and a weekend shop tour conducted by Mark Rudis at Pratt Fine Arts I met Steve.  A couple of years later after doing several iterations in different materials of my simple Monopoly-like houses I stopped by Steve's shop to ask him if he could cut some houses for me out of 3 1/2" thick steel plate. Steve said no problem and we made two of them after I brought him a solid Douglas Fir full scale model to take measurements from (He still proudly shows it to customers).  I have visited Steve every couple of years since and have watched him continually improve his oxygen/propane ganged CNC cutting machines.  In about 45 minutes Steve adjusted his machine and cut the rail to shape.  The top of the rail behind the horn will be milled to make it flat and a square hole, often called a Hardy hole, that will penetrate the torch cut square hole in the web and another round hole to bend steel or take other accessories will be added.  Finally the horn will be shaped in an oval like cone to take hot metal and bend it into curved shapes.  Possibly will weld a heavy steel plate at the bottom to give it more mass. The round hole with a notch is to take a chain to fasten it to an oak stump or a stand made up of laminated 2x  vertical lumber. More later as the project progresses.  

Entry to the shop Burning Specialties



Torch in resting mode after cutting the throat under horn.


Last cuts on the anvil at the horn.


Burning slag at the base of the anvil from last cuts to horn above.


Slag removed, very rough grinding