Taylor Reinhold seems to leave a trail of art behind him wherever goes. His graffiti-inspired work can be seen not only on the walls of local establishments like the Aqua Breeze Inn and Live Oak Elementary School, but also in the industrial section of Honolulu’s Chinatown, on business logos and energy bar labels and at some of the nation’s biggest festivals.There are no photos with those IDs or post 3042 does not have any attached images!
“I’ve always been addicted to spray painting,” the Santa Cruz native notes. “I was running around all night painting graffiti before I was getting paid to do murals.”
Reinhold, who goes to about 14 festivals per summer to paint on walls, estimates his total mural count at 60 or 70. Earlier this year, over the course of four months, he painted 33 murals in South America alone.
Reinhold is the founder of the local art collective Made Fresh Crew, which designs and produces handmade clothing emblazoned with original designs that are hand-printed in sustainable ink. Various members of the collective specialize in such art forms as painting, photography, screen printing, music and fashion.
Some of Made Fresh’s works will be on display for viewers of Taylor’s Open Studios exhibit this year. Along with some large graffiti-style mural work on several of the walls of his house, he will be displaying paintings rendered in spray paint and acrylic, giclée prints on canvas, paper prints, laser-cut wood pieces, stickers, hand-printed T-shirts, subliminal dye-printed sweatshirts, hats and other apparel.
Reinhold’s exhibit at Open Studios last year was a big enough hit with the Arts Council to make him a candidate for a grant. “Someday if I do get that grant, I’m going to do something pretty awesome for the community,” he states. “It’s important to me to be a community advocate. I think that everybody should be exposed to art, and it should be everywhere.”
As a community advocate, Reinhold has done a vast amount of outreach: among other things, he has held various events at the Museum of Art & History, contributed free mural-painting services to local schools, started the first Urban Arts Festival in Watsonville and led workshops for numerous nonprofit establishments, including Youth Now and Mariposa arts.
Among Reinhold’s most significant contributions to the community are his ongoing efforts to help inspire creativity in young people. Asked what compels him to do this kind of work, he offers, “I think it’s the feedback I get from the kids: seeing kids who say they can’t draw; they can’t paint; they’re bad at art—watching them pick up a brush and instantly seeing everything change as far as their attitude, their excitement for it. I learn probably more than they do by working with them. To work with kids and be able to say, ‘Yeah! Of course you can make a four-headed cow! That’s awesome. Let’s see what it looks like’—I’m taking all that in subconsciously. It’s affecting my art and my lifestyle.”
Reinhold’s penchant for community advocacy comes in part from his mother, glass artist Annie Morhauser of the local retail shop Annieglass. He also credits his mother with handing down to him the ability to create something out of nothing, as well as such qualities as dedication to one’s craft, leadership, a sense of fun and self-confidence. “She knows who she is, she’s happy with what she’s done, she’s successful and she really, truly believes in what she does,” he states.
The influence of Reinhold’s parents on his art is also evident in the images of monkeys that he frequently paints. His father, who passed away from cancer when Taylor was 19, was a collector of “three wise monkey” statues (“see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil”). As a way to fend off sadness over his father’s death, Reinhold began to paint monkeys and decorate his room with these images. “I became obsessed with painting canvasses and staring at them for hours at a time,” he recalls. “It was the only thing that brought me happiness.”
Reinhold says painting is a meditation for him. “The second I pick up a paintbrush and start painting, I could be in the middle of downtown San Paulo or New York or Hong Kong, and everything just kind of blurs out,” he explains. “I don’t hear the sound, and I can just focus.”
At some point, Reinhold hopes to bring some of the world’s best mural and graffiti artists to Santa Cruz for the city’s first-ever mural event. He envisions blocking off the streets to make space for musicians, nonprofits and vendors such as local farmers, artisans and craftspeople. “You can see artists painting all day, and then at night, it turns into more of a festival or concert,” he offers.There are no photos with those IDs or post 3042 does not have any attached images!
For now, Taylor will be painting at the Santa Cruz Music Festival immediately after his Open Studios event ends at 5 p.m. After that, he plans to return to South America, where he feels much freer to use public spaces as canvases than he does on his home turf. “Here in the States, there’s a difference between graffiti and art,” he notes. “In South America, there’s no separation—it’s just all art. People respect it a lot and are much more open to it.” He adds that in South America, he can find work by going door-to-door or by simply painting on the street. “I can find people who want to put me up or feed me,” he says. “It’s a lot easier to live.”
In spite of the tireless pace at which Reinhold works, making art feels more like play to him than work. “It’s like comfort food,” he says. “It’s what I’ve been raised on. I live it, breathe it, bleed it.”
See more of Taylor’s work at https://madefreshcrew.wordpress.com/mfc-crew/taylor-reinhold/portfolio/.