A quiet, humble man sits in a borrowed chair in the lobby of Fifth Third Bank Building at 111 Lyon. He wears a beige baseball cap, button down green shirt and khakis. His hands are dirty from the bailing wire he turns around and around.
This man is Mason Taylor, originally from New Mexico, now residing in East Lansing. In his southwestern accent, he replies to questions with a soft “yes, ma’am,” or “no, ma’am.” After growing up on a ranch in New Mexico, he dedicated his life to being a firefighter. Unfortunately, he damaged his shoulder and had to take a hiatus from his live-saving work.
Moving to Lubbock TX, he recuperated his shoulder and also met and married his wife. Taylor picked up his career again as a firefighter in Vincent, IN for several years, before moving to East Lansing to be closer to his wife’s family.
It was in East Lansing that Taylor was chosen as one of seven ‘emerging artists’ at the East Lansing Festival this year. A friend remarked that he should also enter ArtPrize this year. Taylor said he would be glad to, “but first I needed to know what ArtPrize was!” Taylor laughs.
Taylor’s entry is a horse crafted entirely from baling wire. Having grown up on a ranch, he’s been bending wire since he was a kid. “Baling wire would fall out of the truck,” he says, “we’d pick it up, so animals didn’t get tangled in it.” Making small animals out the wire quickly became a hobby. When asked where those earlier sculptures are now, he grins, “Aw, my mom probably has them in a shoebox somewhere.”
Taylor’s ArtPrize entry certainly won’t fit in a shoebox. The quarter horse, in a rearing up position, stands 10 feet tall and 6 feet wide – but weighs only 25 pounds! The sculpture took six-and-a-half months to complete and is stored in a garage when not being showcased in competitions.
So, when you are out and about during ArtPrize, stop by the Fifth Third Bank Building and say ‘howdy’ to Mason Taylor.
You can view and vote for Mason’s piece here – http://www.artprize.org/mason-taylor/2014/a-baling-wire-horse