Elliot Taylor: “I try to reflect the joy that is actually in my neighbourhood.”
Elliot Taylor is a visual artist, musician, and writer.
“I’m doing the central art for Heart of the City this year but I’ve lived in the neighbourhood for a long time right across the street from where it’s happening and so I’ve been there a lot,” he says of his connection to Heart of the City. “So there’s a lot of years of painting records. I have a couple hanging up in my room.”
Regarding other aspects of the arts in which he works, Elliot says, “I’m primarily a songwriter and a musician and then I do some writing but mostly to support my music. I’m in a band called Borderline Thrills. We are working on an album. It’s self-titled because we thought it worked with what we were writing about. It’s like all these things that we are almost doing.”
When asked to describe his voice in art, Elliot says, “It’s a hard thing to describe because I do visual art in a lot of different contexts. I really like portraiture and I really like drawing people. That’s the biggest thing I do. I draw a lot of musicians, I draw a lot of performers. I really like that. It’s art nouveau inspired. I really like obnoxiously bright colour pallets. It’s things that I like to do, rather than a coherent idea of what my art should be.”
He continues: “I have a thing to say and I think that using the tools that I have to say the thing that I need and want to say the right way is more important than making sure that it’s cohesive and fits into the brand model of art. I am a trans person, a queer person in a time where it is increasingly dangerous to be both of those things. I grew up in an at-risk community with a bunch of people who were in much worse situations than I was in and these people were my friends and I empathize with them. Then I moved to a bigger school with people who had more money and I felt different and I wasn’t even at-risk in the way that all of my old friends were. I think speaking to an experience like that and creating an experience like that is something I do in my art.”
Elliot is also trying to break down misconceptions about his neighbourhood through his art. “I try to reflect the joy that is actually in my neighbourhood. I think a lot of people are very afraid of places that are like this: the streets, and the cars, and the sketchy people. That’s not what it is for the most part. There is so much joy, so much creativity, so much interest here. I love reflecting creativity and I take all of that in, growing up here in a big city.”
Corine Demas lives in McCauley where she is the Interim President of the McCauley Community League and a board member with Heart of the City.