When Ans Taylor paints, she finds her happy space. It’s relaxing, and it allows her to share her passion with the Arizona landscape.
“I can paint for hours, and I can lose myself in it,” says Taylor, who hails from Germany.
“I can mirror the beauty that I see in nature. My love for people and critters shows in my art. A fellow artist said he falls in love with every model he paints. It’s true. When I try to paint somebody, I concentrate on the person and the good things I’m seeing. It’s a privilege to do so.”
Taylor is one of the 124 patron-friendly artists who will show their work at the 10-week Arizona Fine Art Expo in North Scottsdale. It runs from Friday, January 15, to Sunday, March 28, under the “festive white tents” at Scottsdale and Jomax roads. The 44,000-square-foot space allows for social distancing; however, masks will be required.
“We had to get a special permit from the city (of Phoenix), and the questionnaire was quite extensive,” says Judy Long, Arizona Fine Art Expo’s general manager. The event has a Scottsdale mailing address but is located in Phoenix.
“We had to turn in the questionnaire and have a conference call with physicians and the assistant city manager. We can’t have large parties. We’re going to be staggering the way people come in. We have high ceilings, and all of our emergency exits are open. It’s like being outdoors in a way. We also have a 2-acre sculpture garden.”
Throughout the event, patrons can watch artisans sketch in radiograph, pencil, charcoal and pastels; sculpt and fire clay; chisel, carve and shape stone; scratch and etch on porcelain board; and saw and carve wood sculptures. Artists will also paint in all media; stain and etch gourds; design lost wax casting; design and create jewelry; and assemble mosaics. Art is for sale during the event, and commissions are welcomed.
This year marks Taylor’s second year with the exhibition.
“It’s unlike any other exhibition,” Taylor says. “There’s so much space and so much time. It’s as if you were living on an island of art and you’re surrounded by art every day.”
Uplifting and colorful
Taylor was born in Bavaria, Germany, where she became obsessed with drawing cats. After graduating from her art high school, she began drawing comics, which she exhibited around the country.
“I’ve been earning money professionally since 2000 in different ways,” Taylor says. “But I had a problem with people paying bills on time, which is what happens when you freelance.”
At that time, she met her husband, a U.S. Army officer who was stationed Germany. Taylor then opted to colorize skin as a tattoo artist apprentice in Heidelberg. As the new couple moved with the military from Germany to Missouri and then to Seattle, her occupation was perfect.
“I was about to starve to death,” she says with a laugh. “Being a tattoo artist was perfect. Wherever there’s military, there are tattoo shops nearby.”
Unexpectedly, Taylor found herself called to be a Christian. Her faith brought a new focus point to her love and appreciation for both nature and fellow human beings—and, with that, to her art.
“At the beginning, I thought, ‘I’m a rock star,’” says Taylor, who tattoos in Christian tattoo shops. “I can tattoo around the world. It’s a very responsible job. The older I get, I see many kids nowadays who want to get tattoos on their face, and I’m not going to do that.”
The couple moved to Prescott, where Taylor was able to indulge. She now enjoys pouring her time and energy into canvas and paint. Taylor says she can’t believe she lives in a state with such diversity. “Critters,” like deer, javelina, coyotes and wild horses, visit her garden daily.
“I could go back to my old again, which is oil painting,” she says. “I took classes and became a fan of portrait painting. I seemed to have a knack for it. It’s been a big love of mine.
“I still work in a tattoo studio, but I have a high moral standard. I’m happy I have the art. A painting is an offer. You can take it or leave it. It’s not quite a service industry, like tattooing.”
Lately, Taylor has been into figurative art, which she describes as uplifting and colorful. She paints portraits of people who fascinate her from the Southwest in a whimsical way. Her latest painting is of a little girl smiling with several skunks on her lap and saguaro nearby.
“I love combining that,” she says. “I love portraying people and capturing their spirit and energy in there. I’m fascinated by Arizona.”
Arizona Fine Art Expo, 26540 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale, 480.837.7163, arizonafineartexpo.com, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, January 15, to Sunday, March 28, $20 season pass; $8 seniors and military; free for children 12 and younger.