In this year of uncertainty, local designer and artist Lennard Taylor hopes to bring a smile to people’s faces with his debut book, The Art of Living.
Taylor was born in Winnipeg to a family of artists and art has always been a big part of his life. After working with Freed & Freed, a local garment manufacturing company, for a number of years, he decided to open his own boutique in 2015 and has been thriving as a designer and artist ever since.
“It’s a combination of everything that I am,” Taylor said.
“So, it’s my art, it’s my clothing, I’ve got local makers, I’ve got makers from across Canada to cultivate a really […] classic, clean shop that caters to all sorts of people from all over the gambit.”
Taylor’s goal in life is simple: “to make people smile and feel good.” This idea is part of what led him to write The Art of Living, another vehicle through which he hopes to spread positivity.
The Art of Living was a project already a couple of years in the making when a surprise gift inspired him to finally finish it.
“The catalyst for putting the book out was one of my clients actually came to my shop and gave me a hardcover book of my quotes and paintings and stuff she’d taken from social media and various different channels […] I just looked at that and [thought], ‘Well, if that’s not the universe telling me to get my book done, I don’t know what is.’”
The Art of Living is intended to stick to Taylor’s ultimate goal of making people happy — containing images of his artwork, inspirational quotes, meditations and musings about life, Taylor wanted his book to be a pick-me-up for readers on down days and an inspiration to look at life from a more positive perspective.
The book’s title was a way for Taylor to express the lack of distinction between art and life — how each person’s life is an art form and that changing your mindset can change your whole life.
“When we strip it down and look at it for what it is, we need food, water, space, shelter and air to live. Those are the key points of life that we need,” Taylor said.
“But then there’s also all these other aspects like balance and meditation […], appreciation, gratitude [and] all these other things that will enhance your life if you’re more aware of them, so those are […] things that you’ll see in the book and hopefully feel as well.”
The Art of Living was independently published with FriesenPress in Manitoba because Taylor wanted to keep its publication as local as possible.
“The reason I wanted to self-publish the book is just to get it out there and get people experiencing it,” said Taylor.
“Right now, especially, a lot of people are suffering from the mental highs and lows of life and people need that pick-me-up, that little self-starting thing that will make them smile and feel good.”
A portion of the proceeds from The Art of Living will be going to two charities of Taylor’s choosing, Artbeat Studio and Tree Canada.
Artbeat Studio is a non-profit organization in Winnipeg that helps people dealing with mental health issues engage in artistic expression by providing access to studio space, exhibition opportunities and like-minded peers. It promotes recovery, empowerment and community through mental health education and advocacy.
Taylor chose Tree Canada as the second charity he wanted to donate to in order to offset the carbon footprint he created by publishing his book.
“I wanted to give something heartfelt to the community and also cover my tracks of what I do,” he said.
“Sustainability is at the core of who I am and what I do, so therefore everything I do has to be in that sustainability aspect.”
Since the book’s release, Taylor has been met with overwhelmingly positive reactions and hopes to organize a virtual book discussion soon with those who purchased The Art of Living in lieu of a book launch, which was prevented by COVID-19 social distancing restrictions.
The Art of Living can currently be purchased through lennardtaylor.com.