Colorado landscape artist John Taft shows work at Vail International Gallery this weekend
The gallery has represented the artist for 10 years
The Vail International Gallery is hosting Colorado artist John Taft for a solo show this weekend. The artist will be present at the gallery to meet patrons and discuss his work on Saturday, July 18 and Sunday, July 19 from 2 to 5 p.m. both days.
“A leading Western landscape artist, John has been featured in many publications and exhibited at prestigious shows such as the Masters of the American West at the Salmagundi Club in New York City and the Coors Western Art Show in Denver,” said Marc LeVarn, co-owner of the Vail International Gallery.
The gallery has represented Taft for a decade, and this weekend’s show marks the 10th anniversary of Taft’s first show back in 2010. Over those ten years, he has produced six solo shows for the gallery.
While Taft’s work is immediately evocative of the Colorado landscape, Taft’s life before he became a full-time painter looked a bit different. He studied design at the Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, NY, and then illustration at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA. From there, he started his career in New York City and worked in design director and art director roles for 18 years.
As one does in New York, Taft spent plenty of time in museums and galleries. He developed an appreciaton for art history while studying it in college, and engaging with art regularly helped him turn his weekend painting hobby into something more.
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“A growing sense of a calling to be a fine artist eventually outweighed the existing career,” he said.
So he and his family moved to Colorado in 2004.
Over the 16 years since he’s lived in the Centennial State, Taft has watched his art change along with his relationship to the environment around him.
“I initially painted as a tourist, as one visiting, observing and recording,” he said. “But with time I’ve developed a deeper relationship with this grand environment, especially the West, and the works are becoming more personal and more mature.”
As Eagle County announced tighter restrictions due to an uptick in local COVID-19 cases, LeVarn and the gallery is confident that it has crafted an event that will both inspire creativity while putting health and safety at the forefront.
There will be no typical cheese-and-wine reception to significantly reduce community spread. Patrons should wear masks in the gallery, which is mandated by Eagle County public health orders, for the informal meet-and-greet with Taft.
“The idea is to spread the contact out over a longer period of time while maintaining social distancing in the gallery,” said LeVarn.
The COVID-19 pandemic has naturally affected all walks of life, and artists are certainly one of them.
“I am thankful for my galleries, including Vail International Gallery,” Taft said.
And that’s why Taft thinks art is especially important in these trying times.
“Art is something neither done nor appreciated in fear,” he said. “Great art brings hope and makes our hearts larger, good things for mankind.”
If you go …
What: John Taft Artist Meet-and-Greet
When: Saturday, July 18 and Sunday, July 19, 2 to 5 p.m.
Where: Vail International Gallery, Vail
Cost: Free to attend
More information: Masks are required in the gallery per Eagle County’s compulsory mandate. Visit vailgallery.com.