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Artist of the Month - July 2020

Written By Jim T. Gammill
Arts Council Menifee

Arts Council Menifee is proud to name James Taylor as its selection for Artist of the Month for the Month of July, 2020. Taylor has been involved with Arts Council Menifee off and on for the past several years and has established himself as part of the city’s artistic community with his talent and unique artwork that spans several mediums in the visual arts.

James Taylor has lived in Menifee since 2007 and has worked in the field of arts education for the past several years. His career in education began with a position teaching 8th grade art and went on to include positions at Calvary Murrieta Christian School, San Jacinto Valley Academy, and a three-year stint at San Elijo middle school located in San Marcos, a position from which Taylor retired in 2019.

The artist grew up in various locations throughout California and describes his childhood as that of a typical “navy brat”, moving from Alameda Naval Air Base near Oakland to Florida, Guam, Tennessee, and Escondido near Miramar in the greater San Diego area on his father’s naval orders. As a young artist, Taylor began working with oil paints and became very comfortable with the medium until his girlfriend (now wife) discovered that she was allergic to turpentine (that James would use to clean his brushes and painting areas). It was around this time that he switched to acrylics and would happily paint on a variety of surfaces including canvas, wood, or whatever else he could get his hands on.

In recent years, Taylor has also taken up Styrofoam carving as part of his artistic repertoire. His work is showcased on his personal website, and on an internationally viewed art site called

“I think of myself as a bit of a band geek,” Taylor remarked when asked about his style, “I’m really into the fine arts and I don’t like my work to ever be the same or seem repetitive. I am always trying different ideas like finger painting or paint pours. I haven’t pulled a Jackson Pollock yet with any splatter painting, but who knows?”

The range of the artists work can certainly be seen by viewing some of his work online, on such as his impressionistic piece Tango that uses bold color and suggested images to call upon the viewer’s imagination to pull the forms of a couple dancing or Bria, another impressionistic work that uses a gestalt of color to suggest the form of a woman playing the violin. The artist thinks of his impressionistic works as something resembling pareidolia, which is the mind’s sub-conscious seeking out faces or familiar shapes in clouds, objects, or patterns.

James Taylor has been a regular vendor and attendee at the Menifee Arts Showcase that is held annually at the Menifee Town Center and has also displayed and sold paintings at the Kay Cisneros center. The artist can often be found in his recently updated home-studio with his wife Celeste, to whom he has been married to for 46 years.

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