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Check out Shaz Taylor’s Artwork

Today we’d like to introduce you to Shaz Taylor.

Shaz, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
Ok, I’ll try to be as succinct as possible but I make no promises. I was born and raised in Chicago, IL. As far back as I can remember I knew I would pursue a career that would provide opportunity for me to be creative. There are a handful of successful artists in my family: I get my artistic creativity from my father’s side, and my architectural design aspirations from my mother’s side. Art and architecture have always competed for creative space and time in my mind so I chose to enroll in THE SCHOOL OF THE ART INSITUTE OF CHICAGO after graduating high school. I earned my undergraduate degree in Interior Architecture then studied Art and Architecture in Italy for a summer. I struggled to find a career that would satisfy my vision of combining my two loves of art and architecture.

After working with a couple design and architecture firms in Chicago, I chose to get my masters in Production Design from the AMERICAN FILM INSITUTE in Los Angeles, CA. I figured, I could utilize my architecture and design skills while simultaneously granting a greater opportunity to use my fine art and creative skills. I found success and enjoy the work but lost interest due to the “Hollywood” politics of the entertainment industry. I am a member of the ART DIRECTORS GUILD OF AMERICA LOCAL 800 as an Assistant Art Director. However, I encountered the favoritism and sexism first-hand that has just recently been acknowledged and accepted into public opinion due to brave and courageous survivors and journalists’ reports to news media outlets. Frankly, I am a young Black female in an old white male-dominated industry and no matter how strong my skills are, only so many that look like me are allowed to play their game. Unfortunately, I did not win that sweepstakes. My skill sets are solid and I am well educated, but it is exhausting networking tirelessly with often the same power players only to face the same result.

After my husband and I welcomed our first child, I decided it was time to focus on my art full-time. I figured the entertainment industry is not going anywhere anytime soon, and I did not want to look up after grinding nonstop in the business only to discover precious time and opportunity wasted. Typical work hours as an Assistant Art Director average over 60 hours a week. I refused to miss out on the things that I love and the things that brought me to get the education I choose in the first place. Like many educated individuals, I have a mountain of student loan debt. Oddly enough I have noticed virtually every work opportunity I secure is predicated on my self-taught ability, and not what I went to school for. I am at a stage in my life where I want and need to focus on my natural creative God given talents and skills. I am creating a new body of work: something I can be proud of that represents my ideals – rather than role-playing to make other creators’ designs and visions come to life. It’s my time and I am no longer ignoring my creative constipation.

We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
My art is inspired by elements in nature and space with a reflection of the beauty encompassed by the African diaspora. I create more paintings than drawings, yet my preferred medium in acrylic and mixed media on canvas. I love to create subtle three-dimensional elements to enhance the characteristics of my paintings. Sometimes, I paint in black and white so I can focus on the principles of chiaroscuro, other times I go straight into color. My process is forever changing and may consist of sketches, notes, or digital layouts of a concept. Other times I go straight to canvas without much preparation at all.

I create art because when I zone out with music and nothing but my materials, it feels like everything is right with the world. It is really my “happy place” and it’s a pure feeling of peace and tranquility. The message I hope to send with my art is that where there is love there is life. Sometimes people can’t see the beauty in life unless it looks like them, I see the beauty in all elements of the earth and that’s why I love to create the human characteristics within in to embody the beauty and the life within. I hope people see my art and it brings them pure joy and happiness and encourages them to dream like the innocence of a child’s imagination. My work is forever changing with different inspirations and techniques and will always breathe life into unknown and forgotten botany, galaxies and elements in nature.

How can artists connect with other artists?
I’m lonely too, making friends as an adult is hard. You have to have something obviously in common to strike a conversation and it may be easier for a new mom or a pet owner than an artist. However, I have begun to connect to Facebook groups that focus on art in painting or drawing. It’s some communication with others that share your interest. Yet, I myself have too struggled to find that sense of community as well.

Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
Currently my work is exhibit in the RCAA Gallery in Riverside, CA. I am in the process of finding more galleries and museums that will support my art and exhibit in California. My online galley is always up and new work is added each month, people can support by purchasing the originals and/or prints of my work at www.shazdesignstudio.com. Commissions are currently open. People can also be sharing my IG and connecting me with other like-minded individuals that I can collaborate, grow and develop with.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Jonathan Hunter, Shaz Hunter, Steve Jacobs

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

2 Comments

  1. Shevette Walker

    May 17, 2018 at 23:19

    Wow, the detail and creativity, Shaz creates, is so amazing. She’s using her gifts from GOD and I know that her work speaks volumes, and I can’t wait to see where she goes from here. Blessings.

  2. Glenda Walker

    May 17, 2018 at 23:43

    Awesome, you paint a excellent state of corporate America , when it comes to young black women in the Society that dated back to the 1800’s. It’s sad when talent is still a part of the good old boys Circle .
    Keep pushing and never give up on your Focus. Once day, you’ll be able to look back, and be blessed for all of your hard work and staying focus.
    Good luck and keep it pushing 👍🏽

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