Power Player of the Week: Artist, Toni Taylor
This amazing Power Player has been a dear friend of mine for over 20 years now! She’s one of the most talented artists I know and I wanted to share her with you all. Many years ago, I had the privilege of being one of her models that was even was apart of mural in city hall for Mount Vernon, NY!
Her work is breathtaking, so make sure you check out her site. Before you do that, let’s get to know the artist, Toni Taylor.
What product does your business provide?
Art ~ Commissioned Art, Original Paintings & Drawings, Prints
What inspired you to start it? What problem do you help customers solve?
Art has been a part of my life since I was a child. You can say that art chose me as a vocation rather than me choosing it. When I worked for companies doing commercial and editorial work, I contributed illustrations to help sell or bring attention to their products. As a fine artist, I create works of art that are aesthetically pleasing and bring personal joy to my clients.
What have been some challenges in building your business?
It’s often said that it takes money to make money and there have been times when capital hasn’t always been available to (re)invest in myself. However, I learned to adapt when times are lean and make the best of a given situation until I’m in a position to do better. I will also be the first to admit that marketing isn’t my strongest suit, but fortunately ‘word of mouth’ has been very good to me. I’ve also had to learn to be disciplined and focused when I have a project on the table. It can be very easy to get distracted by one thing or another when working from my home studio.
What skills/special talents have you used to pull it all together?
I’m in my mid 60’s now and through most of my years on this Earth, I’ve been able to hone my artistic skills/talents by learning from trial and error along the way. I’ll include the ‘discipline’ mentioned in the response from the prior question, as it’s helped me tremendously as well as being fluid in my creative process.
What were some of your most memorable moments in your career?
- The 1st highlight of my career was getting a cover on Heavy Metal Magazine in ’85. I was an avid collector of the mag for its incredible art. It also marked the beginning of my professional career. I was the 1st black woman to paint a cover for them and painted a black woman as the subject matter. I’m pretty proud of that.
- I was honored to be asked to contribute to two calendars for Miller Brewing Company’s Gallery of Greats where I painted portraits of Jesse Jackson, Curtis Mayfield, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, Anita Baker, Nancy Wilson, Mayor of Atlanta Maynard Jackson, Bo Diddly, George Benson, George Clinton and other notables.
- As a scenic painter, I was proud to have contributed many brush strokes to several projects at Disney and Universal Studios in Orlando, FL that people are enjoying on a daily basis. Working on Harry Potter’s Gringott’s Bank at Universal Studios was one of the most grueling, yet rewarding projects.
What are your main keys to being successful in business?
Desire, diligence, drive, determination and most importantly, a great love and passion for what I do!
Favorite me time escape?
I love movies, especially sci fi, fantasy and adventure. As a foodie who loves a good meal, I also enjoy cooking. When I can, I find nature walks to be peaceful and relaxing.
What would you like your legacy to be?
I mostly want to be remembered for being a good human in this lifetime and bringing a smile to people’s hearts with my art. I have put every fiber of my being into creating a body of work that I hope will live on long after I’m gone. I have also entertained a lot through the years bringing many people together to fellowship while enjoying good times with food, music and holiday spirit. In a way, that was part of my Grandmother’s legacy that she encouraged and nurtured in me. I was recently reminded that that’s become a big part of my legacy and it’s something I feel very happy about and grateful for.
Any last words of advice for an entrepreneur just starting out?
My best advice is to follow your passion… feel good about whatever it is you choose to share of yourself with the world. Don’t fall victim to what others may expect of you as only you can walk in your shoes. Good, bad or indifferent.. own it. Know your craft and hone it. Don’t be afraid to fail.. it’s through trial and error that we learn our best lessons. Have faith in yourself and what you believe in but come from a place of humility, conscience, honor, self respect, and respect for others as they walk their own path. Most of all, don’t give up!
Any recommended reading -a book that helped your biz or your personal growth?
I have read many books that have helped me move through life in general from a philosophical perspective with authors like Deepak Chopra, Wayne Dyer, Christiane Northrup, and Queen Afua. I’ve also collected several books on art/artists who I continue to learn from. I recommend reading subject matter that will expand your personal area of interest. Two books that were profound for me are The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield which helped me to understand the interconnectedness of things and Initiation by Elisabeth Haich helped to validate certain past life experiences. I have a plaque over my desk of a poem I’d like to share which serves as great inspiration.. I’m sure there’s someone it will speak to:
‘Don’t Quit ~ When things go wrong as they sometimes will, when the road you’re trudging seems all up hill, when the funds are low and the debts are high, and you want to smile but you have to sigh, when care is pressing you down a bit, rest if you must – but don’t you quit.
Life is queer with its twists and turns, as everyone of us sometimes learns, and many a failure turns about when he might have won had he stuck it out. Don’t give up though the pace seems slow, you might succeed with another blow.
Often the goal is nearer than it seems to a faint and faltering man. Often the struggler has given up when he might have captured the victor’s cup. And he learned too late when the night slipped down, how close he was to the golden crown.
Success is failure turned inside out, the silver tint of the clouds of doubt – And you never can tell how close you are, it may be near when it seems afar. So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit – It’s when things seem worst that you mustn’t quit.’ Anonymous
How can our readers reach you?
Website: www.StarchildArtbyToniTaylor.com *contact also available through the site