Local artist LeGrant Taylor was hosted by Garner Performing Arts Center Saturday, Feb. 2, for an art reception honoring his work during Black History Month.
Taylor is a native of Angier, North Carolina, but graduated from Garner High School and has resided in Garner since 1992. Upon graduating from high school Taylor studied printing technology at Chowan College.
Surprisingly, Taylor has had no formal art training and has only been painting for four years. He attributes his finesse first and foremost to God, and his love for his religion shines through passionately in his work.
Many of Taylor’s pieces reflect an African-American Christian heritage – depicting church scenes with women in the midst of praising Christ and dancing.
One piece, entitled “Know Looking Back,” reflects on the heritage of African-Americans. The artist’s description reads, “In this painting, the viewer is positioned with the subjects looking ahead with promise to something greater. This something greater is born from the wisdom and knowledge of the past.”
A biblical verse is also included, “‘for I know the plans I have for you’ declares the Lord. ‘Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’”
These pearls of wisdom accompany seven African-Americans in the foreground with their backs turned to the viewer looking into the distance down a long, open path.
Many other paintings invoked an air of the Jazz Age. One, “Express Yourself,” shows a group of retro 1960s African-Americans dancing. This painting is especially striking, because of the slight blue shadow outlining each character. Every dancer pops against the background and looks as if they may come to life.
While the titles of Taylor’s painting remain bland, his style and color palette reflect something entirely different. Most paintings include upwards of ten colors, with the complements blue and orange popping off the canvas.
Taylor’s own style was a little less flashy, donning a white and black embroidered tunic under a black blazer, he seemed calm and pleased as he walked around the room.
His friendly demeanor made the show seem comfortable and familiar. He greeted friends and family with warm hugs and greetings, as he two sons sat nearby and wife helped set up the room.
Taylor made every attempt to shake every visitor’s hand and answer any and all questions. He laughed as he told me about the learning process with being a relatively new painter.
He explained that the first oil painting he did just wouldn’t dry. He finally went to a painting store and explained his troubles to the merchant. The man asked Taylor if he had used a medium.
Taylor laughed as he taunted, “I said what’s a medium?!”
He quickly learned the oil paint must be diluted in order to dry quicker. His fun-loving manner showed both the naivety of a new painter and the promise of what more practice can do.
Contact Keally Miller at firstname.lastname@example.org or 919-552-5675.