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How Ontario painter Sacha Taylor is elevating car art – Driving

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Sacha Taylor of Taylor Art Garage paints custom automotive portraits fit for the modern home

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Sacha Taylor’s custom-made automotive portraits are too good for your ‘man cave’. 

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Those are my words, not hers, so if you’ve got beef, feel free to hang it to age in the comments section below. 

Because her one-off pieces, created upon customer request, elevate traditional ‘car art’ to a place where you — and more importantly, your partner and family — can feel great about their prominent feature in the living room, kitchen, bedroom, or wherever else fine art is displayed. 

From her home/studio in Mississauga, Ontario, Taylor has been taking requests and recreating peoples’ favourite rides with muted colours and no small amount of consideration for how each piece will look in its chosen setting. In doing so, she’s opening up ‘car art’ to an underserved market. 

Taylor Art Garage
Taylor Art Garage Photo by Sacha Taylor

Since the below conversation was recorded in early August, Taylor has quit her ‘day job’ in manufacturing sales and is focussing on her full-time career as an artist and podcaster. It has been edited for clarity and length. 

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Are you a longtime artist? 

I’m new to the art world, actually. When I moved into my new condo in 2020 I started looking for artwork that I could put up on the walls, and as a car lover myself, I wanted something car-themed that also matched the rest of my furniture and decor. I couldn’t find the kind of art that I was looking for, so I thought “alright, I’m going to make it myself.” I saw that there was a gap in the market for it between traditional automotive art and home decor, which is very abstract a lot of the time. I got the business idea and bought the website the next day before having ever painted a car, and I’ve been going full steam ahead since.

Taylor Art Garage
Taylor Art Garage Photo by Sacha Taylor

Did you know how to paint before?

I was not a painter before, but I’ve always been a creative person. I was always an artsy kid. My dad was a watercolour artist, so that’s where I think that I got most of my technique from. As a kid, I would just be stand for hours, watching him paint from beside his table. I think just doing that kind of instilled it in me, but no. I did a paint and wine night one time a couple of years ago (laughs), but I had never painted before that.

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So you inherited your art talent from your father. Is that also where you got your love of cars?

You know what’s so funny is that my dad is into cars, but I didn’t know my dad was into cars until I got into cars myself. We were not a car family growing up. My dad didn’t push that on us. He wasn’t a project car person, so it’s not like he was always out wrenching in the garage either. It wasn’t until I got older that I realized that he and his brother would always go to car shows together… maybe, subconsciously, he instilled that automotive love in me.

I should say that my immediate interest in cars came from watching Pimp my Ride, Overhaul and the car makeover shows. They totally lit up the creative part of my brain, and I saw that there’s so much potential in what you can do with these vehicles. I got sucked into the car world that way.

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Taylor Art Garage
Taylor Art Garage Photo by Sacha Taylor

What style of art did you want for your own apartment?

My home has a lot of artwork everywhere right now. I like things that look pleasant and I like spaces that have good energy, so when it comes to design I wanted artwork that was a little more energetic. I thought cars were perfect. I try to take that power and strength and sexiness from the auto world and bring it into the comfort and beauty of the modern home.

What was the first car you painted?

The first car I painted was a 1969 Ford Mustang. I still have the piece of paper I painted it on, but it’s definitely a far cry from what I’ve been selling since then.

What’s the first piece you sold?

The first one I sold was a Dodge Challenger SRT, and to this date, it’s one of my favourite paintings I’ve done because the person that it was sold to gave me total creative flexibility. It was a gift commissioned for her boyfriend for their anniversary, and it was his dream car. She said, “this is the car I want you to do… this is the canvas size.” She sent me a photo of the room it was going into and just said “go for it.” I was able to pull lots of neutrals into the painting, which I love because it separates it more from what people are used to seeing when it comes to auto art.

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What’s your process like?

The biggest thing that I want to commit to is maintaining the iconic body lines of the car. That’s where I’m able to make that link between something you would typically put on the wall in your living room and the garage art that’s always been stuck in the ‘man cave’ or out in the garage. Making sure the key parts of the car, whether it be the silhouette or some body line, are recognizable when everyone sees it.

Picking the angle of the car is the first and biggest thing for me, then figuring out what body lines I want to focus on, and finally picking the colours that I’m going to use. Am I going to use the colours that were in the original reference photo that the customer gave me? Or, as is often the case, will I be given an idea of other colours that are in the house and put those into the painting instead?

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Are you in a studio or your apartment? What’s your setup like?

I’m in a condo in Mississauga. And because floor space is limited, my “painting studio” is one-third workout space, one-third home office/recording studio, and one-third actual art studio, because the recording studio ended up being necessary when I launched my podcast. I started a podcast called Cars are for Girls, as an extension of what I’m doing with the artwork.

Very cool! Why? 

I realized that my female friends and the women in my network kept asking me about the artwork and the cars. I kept hearing the same message back to me over and over again: there was this feeling that cars weren’t really for them — they felt especially like car salespeople and mechanics were just taking advantage of them. I like solving problems so I thought, “what can I do to make the information and make the auto world more accessible to these women who don’t feel like they’re a part of it?” I wanted to be able to offer a resource for them that makes the auto world feel more inviting, so that they can show up with more confidence.

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What kind of format does the show take?

It’s a weekly podcast. Every Sunday I’ll release a new episode. The first couple I wanted to get straight out of the gate as a direct resource when it comes to buying cars, because that’s something that almost everybody can relate to… how to control the sale when you don’t know a lot about cars, and how to be able to take your time and inform yourself to feel more comfortable and know that you’re making a good purchase decision.

It’s just a little bit of everything. They’re short episodes — usually around 20 or 30 minutes — and it’s just bite sizes, like here’s an introduction so that you can have a baseline knowledge and have something to contribute to the conversation if you show up to a car meet. I would not classify myself as an auto expert. Leading up to each episode, I’m doing my research to make sure that I’m saying the right things and creating that connection point of actually providing not only the correct, but useful information to the listener.

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Taylor Art Garage
Taylor Art Garage Photo by Sacha Taylor

Going back to the paintings, how much do they typically cost?

For an original piece, which is completely custom to what the person wants, the pricing is really just based on how big of a canvas they want. So the smallest, the 12 by 36 inch, is $1,497. And then it really just goes up from there, all the way up to the big, mega-statement pieces — the 30 by 40 inch, three by four foot — those ones start getting closer to the three, four, or five thousand dollars.

How long does a painting usually take?

I like to give a window of about eight weeks. Obviously I’m not painting for eight weeks straight, but it takes time. I’ve gotten rushed requests before, and in the nature of artwork, a rush isn’t always the best thing. Still, it can be accommodated when I’m leaving that kind of room with my schedule.

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I see a lot of Mustangs on the feed. What would you say is your most painted or most requested car?

I am so glad that people are buying artwork from me, because otherwise I swear it would just be Mustangs the whole way. For the Mustangs, I was catching myself because I try not to show preferential treatment on my page. I almost got to do a GMC Safari, which I think would have been amazing and I still want to. I think that taking really unconventional cars and turning them into a piece of artwork could be really cool.

Taylor Art Garage
Taylor Art Garage Photo by Sacha Taylor

Is there anything you wouldn’t paint?

I don’t think so! On the podcast, I was talking about gatekeeping a few weeks ago. My own take is that there are too many people knocking other people’s cars, and not enough people just appreciating all of it. With my auto art business, my hope is that people can still see a way that a car that you may not like as much has been turned into something really attractive.

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New App Aims to Promote Province's Thriving Art Community – VOCM

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A new app aims to get people outside and appreciating art in public places all over the province.

The Explore Art NL app leads users to more than 100 existing works of art in communities from St. John’s to Makkovik, inviting people to spend more time in those locations, while possibly meeting others with mutual appreciation.

The works thus far include everything from sculptures to memorials and murals, but anyone can upload their own creations to the growing list.

Business and Arts NL executive director Amy Henderson says they modelled their app on a smaller version in Manitoba.

She says they were inspired by the app used by the Winnipeg Arts Council, but needed to expand it on a larger scale for the entire province.

Vanessa Iddon came up with the design for their so-called ‘Art Car’, a Genesis GV80 which will be touring the region to promote the new app.

The overall initiative is also supported by the federal government, City of St. John’s and Tract Consulting.

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Art Crawl bounces back for 2021 – Coast Reporter

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The 2021 Sunshine Coast Art Crawl, from Oct. 20 to 24, will feature more venues, more artists, and fewer pandemic-related changes than were in place in 2020, unless new health orders are issued before then by the provincial government.

“Because there are so many individual venues, there’s no way we can do any kind of [COVID-related] recommendations overall, other than that the venues follow the provincial guidelines,” Coast Cultural Alliance (CCA) board member and spokesperson Linda Williams told Coast Reporter.

In 2020, the Art Crawl dropped to 97 venues, down by nearly half from the record high of 186 locations in those heady pre-COVID days of October 2019.

This year, the number of venues has jumped back up, to 164, with more than 250 artists participating.

The 2020 version also tried to accommodate health concerns by offering vendors some options, as on online-only venue, or taking in visitors only by appointment. Those choices aren’t on the table for 2021, but the overarching guideline is still safety-first.

“We are following all the health regulations, period,” Williams said.

At press time, the only restriction on indoor events where participants are not seated is that masks be worn at all times by those over the age of 12. Requiring proof of vaccination is optional for venues where the number of visitors is kept under 50. Some smaller Art Crawl venues might ask for vaccination cards, but for now that’s at their discretion.

“We were just going to have to take responsibility as individuals, as artists and as visitors,” said Williams.

Sign-in sheets will be required for all venues, not for pandemic contact purposes, but in order that the CCA can collect a few statistics.

Art crawlers can also answer a quick online survey to be eligible for prizes of a two-night stay at Painted Boat Resort Spa & Marina, or ferry travel vouchers. Winners will be named in a draw to be held on Oct. 31.

Williams noted there are 46 new venues this year. Also, there are more in the Pender Harbour area than ever – 15. And for some reason, there’s been a blossoming of new Art Crawl locations at the west end of Beach Avenue in Roberts Creek.

“There are eight of them that are on Beach Avenue close to Henderson (Road) this year,” she said. “And I think seven of them are new.”

The Art Crawl is also welcoming a new major sponsor this year, Longman Developments.

“They’ve come in because their core values are similar to ours, in community-building,” said Williams. Sunshine Coast Credit Union is also back as a major sponsor, Williams noted, as it has been since 2010.

Art Crawl does receive modest grant support from local governments but is not eligible for provincial or federal funding, so is otherwise dependent on local business sponsorships and $135 venue fees to make the event possible.

The Art Crawl generated close to $600,000 in sales and commissions in 2019.

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Art Beat: Coast artist heads to show in New York City – Coast Reporter

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Roberts Creek artist Kandice Keith is on the U.S. East Coast this week to show her nature-inspired paintings at the Affordable Art Fair in New York City, Thursday, Sept. 23 to Sunday, Sept. 26. “It’s a really amazing opportunity,” Keith said in an interview. “I’m very fortunate.” Keith was set to go to the twice-yearly fair in March 2020, but the outbreak of COVID-19 put an end to that plan. “This is a make-up for that show,” Keith said. She’s also slated to return to the NYC fair at the Metropolitan Pavilion next March. You can see some of Keith’s vivid and luminous work currently on display at the Gumboot Café.

Oktoberfest

Anna Lumiere, Grant Olsen, and Coast String Fiddlers are among the performers featured at Oktoberfest, which has been on all week in downtown Sechelt until Friday, Sept. 24. A full rundown of acts and events can be found at secheltdowntown.com. Celebrations move to Rockwood Lodge on from 1 to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 25, where more live music is planned. Prizes for best lederhosen and beer stein.

Raincheck

FibreWorks Studio & Gallery in Madeira Park had planned an opening reception last Saturday for its new, juried exhibition, A Beautiful Mess: the joyful & random discovery of the artistic process. The reception has been rescheduled for this Saturday, Sept. 25, from 2 to 4 p.m.

Scent and Soul

You can meet Rohanna Goodwin Smith, author of Scent and Soul: The Extraordinary Power of the Sense of Smell, at One Flower One Leaf Gallery on Marine Drive in Gibsons, Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 25 and 26, from 1 to 3 p.m.

Live Music

Peter Van plays a solo show on piano at the Clubhouse Restaurant in Pender Harbour on Friday Sept. 24, from 5 to 8 p.m. Then, for a $5 cover on Sunday, Sept. 26 from 2 to 5 p.m. you can hear the Steve Hinton Band.

The Howesounders host a Friday night jam session at Roberts Creek Legion on Sept. 24, starting at 7 p.m. Sign up at the door to book some solo- or group stage-time. On Saturday, Sept. 25, there’s a Jeevious/Jaggs Jambouree, where members of the Jeevious family and a few players from Vancouver’s Staggers and Jaggs will shake things up for a few hours, starting at 7 p.m. Jim Foster is at the Backeddy Resort and Marina in Egmont, weather permitting, on Saturday, Sept. 25 from 4 to 7 p.m.

Banditry Cider on Pratt Road in Gibsons is staging its first Apple Festival on Sunday Sept. 26, with a lot of family-friendly frivolity starting at 11 a.m. The band The Burying Ground plays from 4 to 6 p.m.

Let us know about your event by email at arts@coastreporter.net.

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