Memphians are happy to claim painter Johnny Taylor, even though he was born in Helena, Arkansas, and, by his own admission, has moved five times in the past year. After all, Taylor did spend most of his life in our fair city, and he regularly proves he is a Memphis boy at heart by his unending devotion to all things Bluff City. At left are a couple of our favorites from Taylor's recent work, followed by some of his personal Memphis must-haves — a kind of a "shop this" by Johnny Taylor.
Taylor claims his early influences were MAD magazine, Star Wars, and the rock band KISS. Too bad that triple shot of glam, pop, and shock didn't inspire such genius in the rest of us Gen X survivors. For Taylor, that funky trifecta sparked something wonderful. His recent work is sentimental without being sappy, retro without being kitschy, iconic without being predictable. We'd love to share his artwork with a super-special Valentine. To sweeten the deal during the month of February, Jay Etkin Gallery will donate 15 percent of all proceeds from the sale of Taylor's work to the Anna Ives fund. Work by Johnny Taylor, $375-$1,000. Jay Etkin Gallery, 409 S. Main. 543-0035.
Two Chicks And A Broom. Johnny Taylor's Pick: Caldrea all-natural cleaning products
Did you know that Two Chicks has a storefront where you can purchase all-natural, organic cleaning supplies? They offer the entire Caldrea line of products, including the sweet-pea scent. I also like the Caldrea lavender linen spray and the Meyer's geranium-scented detergent. It's all about keeping a tight crib. You can walk right in and buy the same products the Two Chicks use to make your home smell so groovy. Lavender spray, $12. Meyer's soap, $5. Two Chicks and a Broom, 885 S. Cooper. 278-7501.
Goner Records. Johnny Taylor's Pick: Memphis t-shirts
Goner sells these shirts that say "Memphis," and I love them because of the funky font. Something about that font just says Memphis. The shirt is a perfect gift for friends with hometown pride. I wore mine to the Final Four, and people knew: "He's from Memphis." Memphis T-shirt, $9.99. Goner Records, 2152 Young. 722-0095.
Maggie's Pharm. Johnny taylor's Pick: Gift bags prepared by Maggie's Pharm staff
Whenever I need gifts for moms or sis or a special lady friend, I go to Maggie's Pharm. They take all the thinking out of it, you know? They make the bath gels and fragrant stuff right there in the store, and I appreciate the personal touches, like the handwritten labels. Their soy candles smell awesome. Plus, the store has different types of gum with rude little pictures and slogans on them that make me laugh. Gift bags, $15-$250. Blue Q Gum, $1.25 each. Maggie's Pharm, 13 Florence. 722-8898.
Shangri-La Records. Johnny taylor's pick: Warble CDs with handmade covers
I like Gerald, the Shangri-La proprietor. (That's Jared McStay.) Shangri-La has a great vintage selection, and sometimes it's fun to check out the album covers and waste some time. The cool thing about the Warble CD, Spacetime Breakfast, is that each one is handmade and includes nifty art from Alex Warble and Judith Stevens. They make me wish I still did psychedelics. Spacetime Breakfast by the Warble, $14.99. Shangri-La Records, 1916 Madison. 274-1916.
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