LeGrant Taylor had never really picked up a paint brush. But when he finally did six years ago, it just started to flow.
“God spoke to me and told me to go get a canvas, brush and start painting,” Taylor, 47, said. “So I obeyed, got me a camera tripod, taped the canvas to it and started painting. And ‘boom.’ It was just like what it was that was speaking to me was telling me something.”
Having never painted before, his wife thought he was crazy.
That was until she saw his first painting. He operated a printing press by day.
“She (asked) ‘you’ve never done this before,’ and I said ‘nope I’ve never oil painted before,’” Taylor said. “I did an oil painting when I was a kid, but it didn’t do any transitions.”
“After I started doing it, I found out how much control I have over the brush on the canvas.”
As part of the town’s Martin Luther King Jr. and Black History Month celebration, the Performing Arts Center will host an exhibit with the theme African-American women.
The exhibition features art from Taylor and six other black artists from the Triangle, including Eric McRay, Shawn Etheridge, Louis Franco, Jermaine Powell, Delvecchio Faison and Jaylan Rhea. It started Jan. 15 and will go through February for Black History Month.
The artists are pretty well known within the art community.
This is the third year for the African-American History exhibition. The first year the exhibit showcased the Tuskegee Airmen. In year two, the theme was the baseball Negro Leagues.
“It’s a time for community to gather together and art to be the focus to bring them together,” GPAC Manager Debbie Dunn said.
Taylor, a Garner resident and painter, is the lead artist.
“He is such a great citizen for Garner,” Dunn said. “He likes to promote these other artists and bring them together. It’s a really cool exhibit.”
Getting a start
He painted his first two pieces and after that the paintings started flowing, he said. Taylor entered his paintings into the state fair as a professional artist and one of his paintings won a third place award.
Most of Taylor’s pictures are of existing pictures. He comes up with his ideas by finding interesting things in photographs. One of the paintings in the exhibit, “The storm,” was painted after viewing six pictures.
“I think one of the things I really enjoy is whenever someone actually gets the painting,” he said. “You see them and they get it, and I know that’s not my gift. That’s God’s gift. They are getting that from him and they’re receiving the message that was brought forth through me.”
Taylor has two boys, a 10-year-old and a 9-year-old. One, he said, has the potential to be an artist too.
The featured painting in this year’s exhibit is “Hair Night.” It’s similar to another piece he’s painted called “Man Cave.” It is Taylor’s rendering of three black women getting their hair done, set in the 1970s. It represents a safe haven and hang out spot for black women.