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.