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Artist Statement



 

A native of London, Samantha Taylor is the founder of Elephant Art Shop which she set up in 2015 and established Elephant Cottage in Bearsville in 2018, which was previously an art retreat called ‘Flatrocks’ in the 1930s. 

Elephant Art Shop advocates for and raises awareness about a broad range of social justice and environmental causes including community empowerment, women and girls, youth education, wildlife preservation, arts and culture. 

Earth’s climate is going through unprecedented changes in the history of modern civilization as a result of human behaviors. These include increasing greenhouse gas emissions, higher temperature and precipitation extremes, flooding and wildfires. This is influencing the migration patterns of humans, marine and wildlife species to find better places to live and survive in and outside of cities. By 2050 there will be 9.7 billion people on the planet, half of them will be in water-stressed regions, requiring 50 percent more energy.

With the growing threats of climate change, disruptive weather patterns, water shortages, nature will dictate our ultimate destiny. This requires a dramatic shift in how we evaluate, appreciate and find solutions for the co-dependent connections between nature, humans, wildlife and resilient communities.

My art reflects my memories of childhood growing up in Kenya, East Africa, taking a critical view of social, political and cultural issues. Despite Africa’s poverty and humanitarian issues, it is a continent of great natural beauty, hope and prosperity. The magnificent elephant species represents maternal strength and longevity. As a symbol of wisdom, the elephant is said to attain old age and the species is highly revered for its strength and emotional intelligence. There are several lessons we can learn from the lucky elephant, loyalty to its family and role in protecting community during these troubling times in our global economy. We need to embrace them now and for the future. Yet, man continues to destroy them. In the early 20th century, there were around 3-5 million African elephants. Today, there are only approximately 415,000 African elephants remaining.

Art is a powerful medium for social and environmental justice, to underscore the urgency of environmental and social action through creative expression. My art and products inspire an appreciation of nature, social and humanitarian empowerment. If we work more together as a community we can be on the critical path to restore nature and humanity.

My extensive portfolio of watercolor paintings includes wildlife species, reflections on nature, racial justice and inclusion, and community life. The portfolio includes elephants, owls, lions, birds, bears, trees and pets.

My shops and ongoing series of POP-UP events features a broad range of colorful and inspiring greetings cards, prints, T-shirts, and totes created from the watercolor paintings. My paintings/POP-UP shops are featured at WAAM, Arts Mid-Hudson, Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild, Dumbo Arts Studio, Bearsville Center, Opus 40, Mirabai, EILEEN FISHER, WEST ELM – among others.

Furthermore, I align with various charities to allocate a portion of sales proceeds to benefit their missions. Examples include WAAM, David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, Afropop Worldwide, Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild, Packer Collegiate School, Brooklyn – among others.

MY PROCESS:

Nature and trees are the driving force for artistic creativity and inspiration. Living in the Catskills is the perfect environment and community. I hike every day and often start a new sketch on pad. I let it sit for a couple of days. The eyes of my wildlife paintings take the most time as I want them to communicate a message, engage and hold a moment in time. My pieces are designed with bright colors and ‘routed’ to nature, survival for the future. Listening and learning from customers is a key part of the process, favorite colors, animals and places traveled.