Artists in Residence: Tosa Painters Making Their Mark
Two Wauwatosa artists are part of Milwaukee’s growing art scene.
Artists Reginald Baylor and Pam Anderson exhibit their work in galleries throughout the country and have studio space in the Historic Third Ward, but they call Wauwatosa “home.”
Baylor’s work, distinctive and recognizable, shows influences of Peter Max – a famous pop artist of the '60s.
“I’m inspired by many pop artists really,” he said of his bold acrylic work. “I’m influenced by color, architecture, the straight line.” He takes the concept of light and shadow to a dramatic extreme.
From his Wauwatosa home, Baylor works on ideas and drawings, but when it comes to creating his large pieces – some can measure 6 feet by 8 feet – he works in his Third Ward gallery space.
Baylor’s style is most distinguished by the delineation of color and shapes that come together so masterfully. His vivid colors are segregated, giving his work a strong presence. To say his technique is paint-by-numbers seems far too simplistic, although he says that’s not too far from the truth.
“I use masking tape to create shapes, then number the areas to be filled in with color,” he said.
Baylor’s work ranges in price from $200 upward to $50,000. “Inspiration is tangible.” he said.
Originally from Milwaukee, Baylor attended the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh where he studied sculpting. A philosophy class influenced his art with the concept of line and its theories and function.
Moving to Southern California, Baylor worked for the Laguna Beach and Newport Beach Art Museums. Baylor felt the need to set aside his sculpting ambitions due to lack of space and the hazards of having metals and concrete around as he and his wife, Jill, had sons Jordan and Elias.
Baylor’s style continued to emerge as a California straight-edge, minimalist artist suggested that he use masking tape as a tool in his work.
Baylor secured representation of a private art dealer in Beverly Hills and, with it, moved to Chicago. He started a career as an owner-operator for Mason Dixon Trucking, though he never stopped working toward developing and mastering his unique straight-edge techniques with acrylic on canvas.
By 1998, he and his family returned to Milwaukee, where recognition of his work continued. In 2007, he was a recipient of an artist-in-residency grant at Ragdale in Lake Forest, IL. It was the result of that opportunity when Baylor decided to stop driving a truck to pursue a full-time career in fine art.
Today, Baylor works out of his open-gallery space and is the founding member of the Plaid Tuba – a creative professional network.
He works with studio assistants on each piece, which typically takes two to five months to complete. “An artist’s career is like a journey. I start a piece. I finish a piece,” he said, making an appropriate analogy considering the miles he has covered.
Where Baylor has intentional distinction between color, Anderson is just as intentional when she blurs the lines of hue and tone. Vivid and evocative, Anderson’s pieces are what she calls, “abstract expressionism.”
She mixes her medium starting with acrylic and water colors then laying on spray paint and paper. Her art is a reflection of her life, she said. “It could be a mood, a feeling, a current event. A visual colorful moment will inspire me.”
In 2004, after seeing television coverage of the devastation in the aftermath of the Indonesia tsunami, she created #39. Not consciously trying to interpret the disaster on canvas, she looked at the piece once finished and was surprised, she said. “It was the tsunami.”
Anderson has been a Wauwatosa resident since 1986. “I feel like a native,” she said. It is here where she raised her three sons and has a home studio. She also works out of her space at the Plaid Tuba in the Third Ward – and freely admits she’s creating all the time, whether or not she’s in front of a canvas.
Her creative process is of an on-going nature. “Sometimes you need to walk away for a while, come back and see things in a new or different way,” she said. “When doing expressionism, one of the worst things you can do is overwork a piece.”
Her earliest memory is of painting, she recalled. But after she married, her first husband moved the family to New Orleans, she said, and “that removed me from my art.” She found a career in banking, one which she enjoyed and was successful. She became the regional manager of one of the largest mortgage banking companies in the nation, overseeing a nine-state territory.
Anderson started painting again around 2000, but wondered if she’d remember how to do it. She did. In 2001, she opened Underwood Gallery in the Village, but she found that she loved the creative process of painting more than the business of running a gallery. She closed the gallery in January to focus on her painting, she said. “It was a leap of faith that things would happen for me.”
Anderson’s creativity has found an outlet and a benefactor. She met with the principals at the Mandel Group, a property developer that has committed to local artists by offering space for a working art gallery and sponsorship of an artist cooperative in the Plaid Tuba. Anderson is currently the artist-in-residence there, and she also has been commissioned to create artwork for the Mandel properties.
Her work, ranging in size from 12 to 48 inches square, are priced from $125 to $2,000 and higher.
Anderson continues to exhibit, to enter shows and to have her work recognized throughout the country. She is active in local and state art organizations, is the vice president of Milwaukee Artist Resource Network (MARN) and is the founder of the Westside Artwalk – the premier annual art event in Wauwatosa and surrounding westside communities.