-By Howard Lyon
Bryan Mark Taylor is a name that I have known for some time, but just recently have gotten to know him personally. He moved this last year from San Fransisco to Alpine, Utah which happens to be about 10 minutes from my place.
I have loved Bryan’s landscape and plein air work for some time now. It strikes a wonderful balance where Taylor has simplified the information but created complex and interesting textures and surfaces.
Bryan grew up in Utah and credits the state’s long tradition of outdoor painting as an influence on his career. He attended Brigham Young University, receiving a BFA and then studied at the Academy of Art, San Fransisco earning an MFA. As he was wrapping up his MFA he began teaching at the school and particpating in various shows and competitions. Taylor estimates he has been in over a hundred group shows and competitions and 15-16 solo shows. I mention this because it speaks to his work ethic and dedication to his craft. I am including several paintings through this post, but also go to his website to see more and find contact information too.
His work has be evolving in the last few years. After thousands of paintings chasing different kinds light, texture and color, Bryan said that his interest is turning to new ways of applying paint.
He also see the changes happening in the environment/climate and is motivated to capture the effects as well as some of the places being impacted. He has recently been on a couple painting trips (that make me a bit jealous) to Cuba and China.
When the opportunity to go to Cuba came up, Bryan wanted to get there before the inevitable flood of American tourists brought money and change.
Bryan’s work is a wonderful blend of interpretation and realism. I can only imagine that it comes from doing so many studies from nature. Look at the washy brushwork in the foreground shadows in the image above. It is contrasted by the geometric, heavier flat-brush application throughout the painting and the clarity of the rendering of the blue car is in beautiful contrast with the background.
Bryan also went to China. He said that he was able to travel with some other painters from China and visited some smaller villages. While there he as able to observe the impact of environmental damage and advances in technology and industry to the poorer population. It brought out some interesting thoughts. There was often a juxtaposition of beauty, tradition and change. This was especially clear in some of the junk boats he saw.
He said that there are whole populations that live on the boats. Raising animals on them, fishing from them and depending on the river for much of their living. They also pollute the river, dumping trash and human waste right into the water. The government in China is removing many of these people, disrupting a lifestyle that goes back generations and placing them in apartment buildings. Most of those being transplanted don’t have skillsets to do something other than live on and from the river. It is challenging situation with complex problems.
Bryan said that his roots in art also come from sci-fi though and feels that the time is right to come back to what inspired his imagination from childhood. He is taking his experience and applying to more imaginative work. I couldn’t be more excited to see where this takes him. – ArtStation page for Bryan
His concern for the environment influences his sci-fi work too. The painting below is called Industrial Reef. It is meant to evoke the Great Barrier Reef. I can see that, especially in the way the ship seems to be lurking inside the opening in structure, ready to either duck back into the shadows or dart out. There is a sense of decay in the painting but also wonder. I see in these works that the technology we create has the potential to inspire and create wonder but with a cost.
As I asked Bryan to elaborate on what inspires him in his sci-fi work. He said that one of the things he loves in sci-fi movies are those moments and scenes that inspire a sense of wonder and vastness. The shots that usually come before the conflict, before everything goes wrong. He always wants those moments to last a bit longer. You can see that in his work. They feel cinematic, capturing the a moment filled with tension and possibility. I love the tilt of the ship in the painting above, conveying motion and action and the perspective of the painting below invites the viewer to lean forward to try and peer deep into the scene.
Bryan will be at Illuxcon this year and I am so excited to welcome him here on Muddy Colors to the world of sci-fi and fantasy art. His work is complex and exciting. I see influences of John Berkey and Syd Meade but the work is clear and unique. Given how prolific he is, there will be many more inspiring paintings to come.
I closed my interview with him asking where he wants this new work to go. I think the fun and excitement of not knowing exactly where it might lead is part of the appeal for him. He did say that he would love to work on Star Wars or Avatar or even do some book cover work. If anyone reading this has a say for any of those things, definitely reach out to him because I want to see where these go!