Dan Taylor sends message of pride and healing with LeMoyne exhibit


It has been said, by those who say things, that idle hands are the devil’s workshop. It is obvious that these opponents have never known the hands of artists, nor have they entered their studios to see the heavenly treasures therein.

LeMoyne Arts will feature such gems on their upcoming show celebrating LGBTQ History Month, Beam with Pride. The exhibition will feature the work of local queer artist Dan Taylor, whose idle hands led him to art.

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Dan Taylor will be part of the Beam with Pride art exhibit, filled with works by Taylor and others.

“Twelve years ago I finally quit smoking and found I had an amazing time ahead of me,” Taylor recalls. “So I’m like you know what, I’ll try to paint.”

When the smoke cleared, the colors came out and Dan Taylor stood in the middle of his own artistic ability.

Coming from a family of musicians where he learned to play piano and saxophone, he was always encouraged to explore the joy of music and art, regardless of medium or level of expertise. “Our parents always encouraged us to try,” says Taylor.

Dan Taylor and LeMoyne Arts are joining forces again in October for their Beam with Pride art exhibition, filled with works by Taylor, including "Azure."

“Big Pieces of Paint”

It was only later in life that Taylor began to explore her artistic essence, first through sculpture and eventually by immersing herself in the arduous world of oil paints. Oil painting has its own life. Its fluidity and thickness make it difficult to maneuver and even more difficult to dry.

“I do heavy (thick and heavy) abstract impasto. Like big globs of paint on a big canvas,” Taylor reveals of his process, “I have paintings I did 10 years ago that are still drying.” Eventually, he found relief in discovering the much more forgiving medium of acrylic paints.

Taylor lovingly recounts her evolution from oil painting to acrylic. “I really thought I wasn’t going to be able to get the richness of color, the richness of texture, and the depth of color. I didn’t know I could achieve this with acrylic, and I can!

Self-taught, Taylor began as a supporter of the arts, producing events like Artopia, one of Tallahassee’s top art auctions, along with Big Bend Cares. Taylor evolved from patron to practitioner thanks primarily to the support of local Tallahassee organizations like LeMoyne Arts.

This iconic organization, housed in the historic 1854 Meginnis-Munroe House, is dedicated to educating and promoting contemporary visual arts in Tallahassee. LeMoyne Arts hosts exhibitions and events each year that showcase a range of local talent. Taylor’s first show was at LeMoyne Arts.

Weird colors, textures and questions

“Right after I started painting, the general manager at the time, a local artist, asked me if I wanted to do an exhibition of emerging artists. It was well received,” Taylor says. “Since then, I’ve applied to be in all kinds of things at LeMoyne. If there’s anything I fit into, I apply, because I love LeMoyne and I want to be on their shows.

Taylor’s work as an activist and board member for Big Bend Cares and the Council for Culture and the Arts (COCA) has returned to the web. Although mostly Taylor embraces color, texture and movement to create something desirable to hang on the wall, he uses his art as a way to highlight queer issues.

Following the 2016 Pulse shooting in Orlando, Taylor painted an abstract rainbow titled Pulse We Rise as both a celebration of queer life and a reminder of the oppressive history felt by LGBTQ+ members. Taylor thinks that although we’ve come a long way, there are still queer people who are victims of prejudice here and now.

Thus, his painting uses colors representing the spirit, healing and the idea that there is still much to do.

Dan Taylor and LeMoyne Arts are joining forces again in October for their Beam with Pride art exhibit, filled with Taylor’s work, as well as paintings by other local queer artists to artistically support the LGBTQ+ community.

Taylor also created a moving piece, Pride, for the event’s cover art. It shines, “I wanted something festive, proud, with high contrast and lots of texture to pop off the page.”

This piece served as a covenant moment on the wall of Tallahassee City Hall and reflects the vibrancy and pop found in Dan Taylor and his artistry; always present, evolving and full of colors.

If you are going to

What: Beam with PRIDE with Dan Taylor. Other artists include: Danielle Wirsansky, Gina Dole, Pamala J. Doffek, Lucy Noah, Mifflin Hollyday, Nancy Jefferson, Natalie Barfield, Nathan Archer, Steven Williams, Tay Cotton and Thomas Friedman

When: 11am-6pm Sept. 29-Oct. 29. The gallery’s opening hours are Tuesday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Where: 125 N. Gadsden Street

Cost: Free for LeMoyne Arts members, $5 for non-members; visit lemoyne.org

Contact: contactus@lemoyne.org | 850-222-8800

Christy Rodriguez de Conte, Ph.D. in theater studies, is a feature writer for the Council for Culture and the Arts. The Council for Culture and the Arts (COCA) is the Capital Region’s apex agency for arts and culture (tallahassee arts.org).

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