Shelby Taylor

Do Not Enter

Acrylic on Canvas
121.9 cm x 61 cm
$ 1000

Inspired by a true story, Do Not Enter depicts an event that happened at the Time Hortons down the road from my house in Sault Sainte Marie. One brisk morning an employee was taken by surprise as she looked out her drive-through window to discover a moose had wandered through the drive through. Now this is even uncommon for Sault Sainte Marie, but if it were to happen any place it would happen there. I painted Do Not Enter as a homage to locality and how our landscape and the animal is naturally integrated.

My work dealing with the animal and its integration in what we define as human stems from my rural upbringings. I was born and raised in Sault Sainte Marie, Ontario. Raised on the edge of town and spending many of my summers up North around, what we call up there camp (a cottage, but more rustic), I became well acquainted with the wildlife in the area. My grandparents and mother were hunters, so I quickly learned the importance of the surrounding wildlife and how they constructed my identity as a human being. However, I would not become aware this until pursuing my post-secondary education. As a young child I have always had an attraction to artistic practice, right from drawing all over my homework in the second grade to pursuing art through my academic career. Being from an isolated and rural city our art scene was quite small. I would participate in it in any way I could. In 2006 I served as an assistant designer for the White Pines onstage original Legend of the Lake. I then continued on in 2007 to do my own make up design for my role in the local production of CATS. As well as pursuing musical endeavours I also exhibited in two exhibitions. The first was ARTREACH a collective of twelve high school students exhibiting independent work from the ARTREACH program. The second was a juried exhibition by the Algoma District school board called Art Circuit. I continued to exhibit in the exhibition the next year and serve on the Jury panel. I also continued on to work on set, and costume design in the local musical productions Miss Saigon and Aladdin in 2008.

With early acceptance and an entrance scholarship I pursued The University of Western Ontario's Fine Arts program with a minor in Anthropology. Moving to attend my post secondary education had profound effects on my artistic subject matter. Though London is a nice comprise between the big city of Toronto and my home town it is still a far cry from the rugged landscape I grew up in. This stark contrast between landscapes and wildlife had me reflect on my own upbringing and how it defines who I am. This has set me on the track I am on now. Pursuing wildlife's role within our human environments and how they define who and what we are. I merge elements of our environment and the animal I am in portraying to create a unified environment that teeters on the edge of what is animal and what is human. I bring the rural wildness back into the systematic human environment. I am just finishing exhibiting in the show titled Thick as Thieves at the Forest City Gallery and have exhibited a number of times on and off campus. I am pursuing independent work this summer and will be enrolled in the fourth year graduating Practicum class this Fall and Winter terms.

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