When I met Garland Taylor recently, it was at a Jazz concert held on the lawn of Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art. I commented on his sandals (brown leather that appeared to be custom), and he proceeded to tell me about how he blew all of his money on them some years back while interning with a metalworking artist in Italy. So far, they were still holding up, he said. The investment had not been in vain. Shoes do, in fact, tell stories.
Speaking of stories, Taylor says of his work:
“[It is] informed by characteristics of people, and designs in nature. My sculptures are short stories that illuminate the evidence of my labor, that is, my struggle to create logic, balance, and harmony with welding electrodes and tiny pieces of steel discards from railroad maintenance crews, the construction trades, and the manufacturing industry.”
According to his website, his works “deal with improving that which has fallen into decline.”
Unassuming and friendly, Taylor has a studio not too far from Bronzeville on the South Side, and he creates otherworldly metal sculptures utilizing reclaimed materials, slick finishes suited for an automobile, and organic yet mechanical forms. Jive on!