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Video: Atlanta artist Tommy Taylor finds new directions in film

It’s not just actors who have benefited from Georgia’s burgeoning film industry. For two years now, longtime Atlanta artist Tommy Taylor has made a living as a scenic painter on movie and television sets for such productions as “Watch” and “Prisoners,” to be released September 20.

A frequent task is to make the sets and props look real. “On one film we produced a crypt that was made of wood and Styrofoam,” Taylor said in an email from Venice Beach, California, where he is working for photographer and music video director Anthony Mandler. “We had to paint the foam to look like stone and the wood to look like marble. Then we aged it down with color washes to make it appear old.”

But he’s also had an “acting” job. He “played,” offscreen, an artist who is a suspect in a string of murders in the movie “Solace,” starring Anthony Hopkins and Colin Ferrell.

“I made 15 paintings in the space of two weeks,” Taylor said. “The paintings are very disturbing and are tied to some very gruesome evidence that is discovered by police. I can’t say anything else about it. One will just have to see the movie to see them.”

"The Future Is Frozen," an oil painting by Tommy Taylor.
“The Future Is Frozen,” an oil painting by Tommy Taylor.

If working in the film industry pays Taylor’s bills, it has also influenced his art. He had always loved movies but thought of it as an avocation. “While watching the making of these films from the inside, I began to see how it was done, and that old desire was rekindled,” he said. “So it was while working in films, with their daunting schedules that were keeping me out of the studio, that I decided to go ahead and make a short film.” He conceived and directed “Baba Yaga” in collaboration with Brett Falcon, a rock musician turned photographer, who edited, co-directed and shot it.

“I also have a crazy idea for a film that needs only two characters and will take place in Florence, Italy. . . . I just about have the money for that,” Taylor said.

His videos will be shown at the Hambidge Festival in October.

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