Thursday, April 25, 2024

A ‘window’ of opportunity

Granbury resident goes ‘against the grain’ as creative window painter

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Andrea Taylor is adding some color to Hood County — one brushstroke at a time.

As the owner and operator of Against the Grain Studio, Taylor utilizes her artistic talents to create seasonal artwork and logos on business windows in Granbury, Acton, Stephenville and even Decatur.

“The benefit of painting windows is that it brings life to the business," Taylor said. "And when you have vibrant colors and imagery and they're changing, then the general public begins to notice that business. I hear so many positive things from customers of those clients. As I'm painting, they're coming in and out and they're like, ‘We just can't wait to see what you're going to do next,’ and ‘We just love what you did. You're so talented,’ so the patrons of these businesses are really excited when these small businesses get this done.”

Ever since she was little, Taylor was fascinated with window painting — even going as far as saying it’s what she wanted to do when she grew up.

“It might be my artistic side, but I remember as early as 5 (years old) just staring at windows as they were being painted,” she said. “In school, we had a career day, and everybody wanted to be teachers and firemen, and I wanted to be the person who painted the windows. But I didn’t know that was a real thing.”

It wasn’t until she moved to Granbury that her young aspirations started to become a reality.

From her own art studio on the square to her laser engraving business, Taylor was constantly working to create different products and allow others to express their creativity through art.

But after her studio sold, she was left wondering what her next venture would be — that is until she met Jack Fleming.

“My youngest daughter, Selah, she's in swim on the (Granbury) SEALS team, and I was there to practice one day, and I got to talking to the parents,” Taylor said, reminiscing. “One father was there and he's like, ‘I'm an artist,’ and I'm like, ‘Oh, I am too’ and he's like, ‘I do pinstriping.’ We got to talking and he's like, ‘I used to paint windows,’ and I'm like, ‘Oh my goodness, I would love to do that! That’s what I've always wanted to do!’ And he's like, ‘Well, that's funny because I'm actually looking to hand my business over to somebody.’ I was like, ‘Pick me,’ so he did.”

Fleming took Taylor to paint the window at Morphine Cycles behind Walmart to teach her about his trade — and the rest was history.

“He just loaded up all of his gear in my car and then, all of a sudden, I'm a window painter,” Taylor said.

Since then, Taylor has created several holiday and specific themed murals for businesses like Paradise Bistro & Coffee Co., The Frog Juice Co., Scents of Humor Candle Company, Firehouse Cafe, Silver Saddle Saloon, Bee Healthy, Budget Bookkeeping, KP Staffing, revIVe Infusion Therapy, and C&J Butcher Shop.

"It just depends on what the client is asking for,” she said. “C&J Butcher Shop has a semi-permanent design of the butcher chasing the animals.”

While Taylor still has her laser engraving business, window painting is the venture that she has fallen in love with — even describing it as being her “favorite job.”

“I love the community,” she said. “I love just being with people, listening to their stories, and just connecting to our community. And then I love the creative side of it because I get to change the design so often that it really stretches me. Firehouse wanted fireman leprechauns on the ladder, and then for Christmas, they wanted like 28 names included in their mural, so things like that are challenging and make me really stretch myself on how I'm gonna make it make sense for the customer and for everybody.”

But it’s because of her laser engraving business that she has found a way to make her window painting even better.

Taylor explained how in traditional sign making, a rotary tool called a pouncing wheel is used to perforate paper. However, instead of a pouncing wheel, Taylor uses the laser from her engraving business.

"I can design their logo and lettering on my program and then have my laser cut exactly to the specifications of the window size and that perforates it,” she explained. “Then I just paint through that perforation, and it'll transfer that logo to the window. I use my laser to help me as a tool, so I'm taking traditional and kind of making it more contemporary with the tools I have at hand.”

Taylor said a couple of Christmases ago, she used her laser to create a holiday design for Paradise Bistro and the customers loved the idea as they entertained the illusion that they were in a snow globe.

"I like to make things that are interactive — especially since we live in a high tourist area," she explained. “Visit Granbury used that window for their advertising through Christmas because it was something that people could take pictures of and tag Granbury and Paradise. I love doing interactive work — anything that can bring notoriety to a small business.”

Similarly, as Taylor continues to grow her own window painting business, she will always remember to thank the person who made her dream happen.

“Every artist struggles with their own imposter syndrome," she explained. “Mural is kind of more fine art and window painting is a little bit more of a simplified, slash art type of feel, so thankfully, I've had some customers hang on to me while I developed my style. At first, I was doing some pretty intricate windows, and I was able to kind of refine it by studying other window artists, being in a window artists group, and just learning the trade and developing my own style.”

Taylor explained that her business name, Against the Grain Studio, is derived from her belief that as a Christian, she may do some things differently in the world, but that she also thinks differently — especially when it comes to being creative.

“The studio was a really great thing for us to be integrated into the community of arts,” she added. “By far, Granbury is the best place I’ve ever lived. I have the best friends, the best support system and the most creative people. It’s just a God-given thing to get us here and get established into this community that we love so much.”

When Taylor is not busy creating art, she spends time with her husband, Dillan. She has three daughters: Olivia, 21, Aurora, 17, and Selah, 11 — the latter of whom helps Taylor on many window painting jobs.

For more information about Against the Grain Studio, visit atg-studio.com online or on Facebook: facebook.com/AgainsttheGrainStudio/, Instagram: AgainstTheGrainStudio, or TikTok LaserLadyATG.