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From where you least expect it
July 27, 2016
Share like ya just don’t care

“Where are you located?”
“Under the sombrero.”

How does that old saying go? “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover?” A saying that couldn’t be more apt when meeting Adelle Taylor. At 29 years old, her day job includes paper-pushing and day-organizing as Vito PIazza’s Executive Assistant, no easy task to be sure. She sits tucked away in her corner pod with three Account Executives filling the seats around her. Her space is quiet and composed with not much of anything on display, save a laptop and a stack of neatly organized paperwork. Modest in every sense of the word, you would never know that she’s a locally renowned artist with curated art shows under her belt. But then again, she’s not very vocal about it. We promptly fixed that.

She cracks a beer.

“I’m from Sarnia,” she explains. A city on the southernmost point of Lake Huron, on the west side of Ontario and a place that couldn’t be further from Toronto. She was raised by two loving and supportive parents. Her father in sales, her mother a financial advisor. “They were cool,” she says. “My dad was always the more creative one though. He was always into music.” Her mom is a different story. “She’s always been more practical,” Adelle explains. Though she wasn’t devoid of artistic appreciation, her mother was “... more of the type to tell me my painting was ‘good’ or ‘pretty.’Those types of compliments.” Not exactly rave reviews, but a fan of her daughter's talents nonetheless. As a child, she would express herself creatively any way she could. She says she did typical kid stuff like drawing, painting and dancing. She wanted to be an astronaut (who didn’t?).  But she also mentions things like acting, singing, dancing and even drumming as outlets. “I remember watching Fantasia and losing my mind on how aesthetically pleasing it was. And nature! It’s always something I’ve been insanely inspired by.”

 The biggest supporter of Adelle’s raw talent came from her Nana. “I remember going to my Nana’s house when I was younger,” she laughs. “She used to make me and my cousins paint rocks. My grandmother always pushed me.” And for good reason. From a young age, Adelle always had a keen eye for the arts. “Even now, my Nana is brutally honest. If I show her a piece and she doesn’t like it, she doesn’t hesitate to tell me.” She remembers her Nana’s collections of art and antiques and being awestruck by their beauty. “She was such a heavy influence. She actually inspired my thesis during my undergrad.”

But as her talents grew, so did her influences. Though she notes her Nana as one of her biggest influences and supporters, artistically she names others. The work of classic Nouveau artists like Aubrey Beardsley, who’s best known for his flowing lines of deep black ink, and Alphonse Mucha, who created stunning portraits of intricate detail that creep into her work. But so do contemporary artist styles like those of Kenneth Noland and Berlin-based Nouveau artist Meyoko. Her recent planet series, she admits, was influenced by the work of Noland, and you can see hints of Meyoko in some of her abstract ink work. “I was heavily influenced by Art Nouveau” she says.

The classic and contemporary art worlds weren’t her only sources of influence. Like any artist, she looks to the world around her for inspiration. “My lifestyle influences my work,” she says. “What I live and love works its way into my art.” Because of this, she doesn’t create like other artists. It’s what’s also given rise to her renown. “I don’t go into a project knowing what I’m going to create beforehand. It’s all very spontaneous.”

She has an art style that’s all her own. “But, like everything else, if you don’t grow you tend to stagnate.” She confesses that one her biggest challenges is her lack of self- confidence. “It’s tough when you don’t see your work in the same light as everyone else. As an artist, you’re hard on yourself.” It’s something she battles everyday. “Even doing this [interview] is tough,” she says. “Vito was the one who urged me to do it. I just don’t see my art in that light.” And it’s not just the self-doubt that she fears, it’s the rejection. “You have to remember that art is subjective. I’ve been rejected by galleries before. It hurts. It does take a toll on you. The trick is to brush it off and remember that you can’t please everybody. It’s impossible.” It seems like this is something she lives by because she doesn’t let it hold her back. She can’t. Despite the doubt, she still strives to produce fascinating and emotionally compelling work. “It’s all an extension of me.”

What’s next for Adelle? “A new series. Extraterrestrial landscapes with a retro ‘70s vibe,” she says. “I just watched Barbarella…” Adelle is truly more intriguing than she gives herself credit for.”


Written by Ian Maracle 

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