December 28, 2009

Hype Without Hypocrisy - Hey, Ladies! by Bret Taylor

It's always satisfying to see someone make strides creatively, both in short bursts and over the long haul, and to share in the process in a public way no matter what the potential criticism or negative feedback.   It's why I've struggled with creative impulses for years and years.   Like others, I crave warm and fuzzy validation, but I also want to be taken seriously, and that requires ripping apart old work, acknowledging writing tendencies and consciously navigating a way around them, and, perhaps most importantly, finding a unique "voice," one that reflects who I am, rather than just mimicking others.  Most of us don't want to walk that tightrope, and one fall without a net is usually enough to deter efforts for awhile, if not indefinitely.  Then there's the conundrum of balancing catharsis and commerce.   I've made enough on ad click-throughs here in my first month to buy a sandwich.  Not a fancy Grey Poupon-dressed Dagwood either, more like a dollar menu item with fries.   I tell myself I don't care if I never make a dime writing creatively, but that's a flat-out lie.  I write big-bucks spec movie scripts in my mind in the shower, and plot pulp stories and indie comic scripts in cerebral Notepad while walking to the cafeteria.  So, again, it's both satisfying and inspiring to see a friend and contemporary travel on that journey, take risks, and reach for something more.   Bret Taylor's Hey, Ladies, is a statement in that regard.  Both a new start and the culmination of years of experimentation without major fanfare or exposure.

I initially took an interest in Bret's art because of its iconic nature.  Due to his years of experience and training as a graphic designer, he has been forced to focus on intrinsic aspects of ubiquitous items, and market them as part of a sellable package.  That creates a limitation where a lowest-common denominator visual viewpoint overrides interpretation and unique presentation.  Taylor's art began to deconstruct the usual straight-ahead view, hard angles, and bland backgrounds found in advertising, and explored Hockneyesque color schemes, soft curves, and intense closeups.   In that vein, my first commission from him dealt with a set of brand-name bourbon bottles, similar to this work here:

Hey, Ladies! is an extension of that approach, with the common theme being the beauty of the female form, sometimes beckoning, other times standoffish but intriguing.  I always thought that drawing pretty girls was always the toughest job for any artist, because there are so many ways to get it wrong, from mismatched eyes, to crooked smiles, to proportionality from the hips to the shoulders.  It's an ambitious way to start an art book series.  I recommend previewing the book here  and purchasing it here.  I understand another book, this time showcasing classic cars, is currently in the works.  Here's hoping Bret keeps honing his craft and stays hungry in the quest for success.  He's off to a good start.

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