By Becky Streeter
A skateboard, a band saw, and a quirky, fun imagination. That’s everything Joseph Taylor needs to create a masterpiece, but it might not be exactly what you’re thinking.
During a house move some time ago, Taylor’s father loaned him a band saw. Taylor looked at the saw, looked at a skateboard, and ideas started to flow. He began his art journey by making jewelry as presents for his friends and family. But after becoming more comfortable maneuvering the saw, Taylor decided to try his hand cutting intricate shapes out of skateboards and fusing them into wall hangings.
Taylor’s wall pieces vary in subject matter from gorgeous mountain scenes, to an exploding rhinoceros, to a ship fighting to survive the crashing waves of the sea. Sometimes he grasps at the ends of his imagination, and sometimes he just has to look at a skateboard and he knows exactly what it’s going to be. “The medium itself holds enough intrigue so within my basic format I can explore many different subjects and ideas,” says Taylor. “I can make a spaceship and a pyramid if I am interested in spacey alien theories, or I can have a lone wolf in a field for more sentimental and earthly feelings.”
Based in Madison, Taylor reuses and up-cycles many of the materials needed to create his masterpieces. He found his source for old and broken skateboards by building relationships with skate shops and receiving donations from skateboarders in the community. “I love the satisfaction of fixing something that was broken or breathing life into something that’s been discarded,” states Taylor. The veneers on skateboards embody so many different colors that can’t be found in natural wood. They often lead to a world of unique and intriguing opportunities for an aspiring artist.
After honing his technique, Taylor took his work public, made it into a business, and became an instant hit. His first solo reception was in the fall of 2014, and he has been booked with solo receptions and art fairs nearly every month since then. He continues to make and sell jewelry and wall art equally, and he loves talking to people at shows and fairs about his work. His favorite thing is watching what draws their attention and seeing the light in their eyes when they appreciate his art, whether they buy it or not.
Taylor feels at the very top of his game when he can create a custom piece. “I love when someone feeds me ideas and asks me to depict a new scene or animal or visualize a passage from a Mark Twain novel,” says Taylor. “They can contact me via email with pictures from my website or simply call me and say ‘I like this color, this layout, this size, I have this much money to spend, and I was just in Australia and made friends with a giant kangaroo named ‘Jazz’ and boom! I have a fresh slate and a new story to tell that’s just for them.”
With the holiday season right around the corner, why not try to buy local and creative this year? Taylor is easy to work with and can make just about anything given a little bit of time, his trusty saw, and his keen sense of imagination.
Taylor’s jewelry and smaller wall hangings can be purchased at Tangled Up In Hue, or he can be contacted online:
Joseph Taylor Art and Jewelry LLC
Follow on Instagram @joeart
facebook Joseph Taylor Art and Jewelry