Jim T. Gammill, Special to Valley News
Arts Council Menifee named James Taylor as its selection for Artist of the Month for July 2020. Taylor has been involved with Arts Council Menifee off and on for the past several years and has established himself as part of the city’s artistic community with his talent and unique artwork that spans several mediums in the visual arts.
Taylor has lived in Menifee since 2006 and has worked in the field of arts education for the past several years. His career in education began with a position teaching eighth grade art and went on to include positions at Calvary Murrieta Christian School, San Jacinto Valley Academy and a three-year stint at San Elijo Middle School in San Marcos, a position from which Taylor retired in 2019.
The artist grew up in various locations throughout California and describes his childhood as that of a typical “navy brat,” moving from Alameda Naval Air Base near Oakland to Florida, Guam, Tennessee and Escondido near Miramar in the greater San Diego area on his father’s naval orders. As a young artist, Taylor began working with oil paints and became comfortable with the medium until his girlfriend, who is now his wife, discovered that she was allergic to turpentine, which he used to clean his brushes and painting areas. It was around this time that he switched to acrylics and began painting on a variety of surfaces including canvas, wood or whatever else he could get his hands on.
In recent years, Taylor has also taken up Styrofoam carving as part of his artistic repertoire. His work is showcased on his personal website, http://jtayvisualarts.com and on an internationally viewed art site called http://fineartamerica.com.
“I think of myself as a bit of a band geek,” Taylor said when asked about his style. “I’m really into the fine arts and I don’t like my work to ever be the same or seem repetitive. I am always trying different ideas like finger painting or paint pours. I haven’t pulled a Jackson Pollock yet with any splatter painting, but who knows?”
The range of the artist’s work can be seen by viewing some of his work online, on http://fineartamerica.com such as his impressionistic piece “Tango” that uses bold color and suggested images to call upon the viewer’s imagination to pull the forms of a couple dancing or “Bria,” another impressionistic work that uses a gestalt of color to suggest the form of a woman playing the violin. The artist said he thinks of his impressionistic work as something resembling pareidolia, which is the mind’s sub-conscious seeking out faces or familiar shapes in clouds, objects or patterns.
Taylor has been a regular vendor and attendee at the Menifee Arts Showcase that is held annually at the Menifee Town Center and has also displayed and sold paintings at the Kay Cisneros Senior Center. The artist can often be found in his recently updated home-studio with his wife Celeste; they’ve been married for 46 years.