When visiting the studio of Taft McWhorter, one is struck by the aura of excitement, the exuberance, and the lust for life! Taft and his wife Dana, distinguished darlings of the Houston art scene, celebrate 33 years of marriage this year! Initially meeting at a church event in 1987 the couple have worked together, raised a family, and grown a successful art business.
Debuting their Houston art studio 14 years ago, they have never looked back. While Taft concentrates on creating his vibrant, energetic paintings, Dana focuses on business, contracts, organization, events etc. For a while there was monthly travel to and from Los Angeles, where a second studio was in place, but following a decision made during the pandemic they brought the business home to Texas where they have a huge following of residential and commercial clients.
As well as functioning as an exhibition and gallery space, the Winter Street studio is where the confident, colorful paintings are created. Working through the day allows for evening events in the studio and elsewhere. With prominence in the Houston art and philanthropy scene, Taft paints “live” at galas and other fundraising events, having donated around 40 paintings and raising a million dollars in the last 8 years to deserving causes is a commendable achievement.
Favored art materials include “everything but oil”, as he prefers to use acrylic paints, mixed media and gesso, with resin for a glossy lustrous finish. These spontaneous paintings are flamboyant and dynamic, and are a force field of energy, joy, and passion.
The words, “Pursue Your Passion”, are inked, bracelet style on Tafts wrist, the message is painted on the studio counter, and lit up on a neon sign above the entrance.
“We always encouraged our kids to do what they love” says Taft, and the boys came up with the phrase. This philosophy has become our mantra for business as well as life and family. Collaborating with esteemed Houston artist David Adickes, resulted in a “Pursue Your Passion” sculpture, this large 3D work of public art is situated in Missouri City. As well as working on the sculpture together, a range of signed limited-edition prints and other works were created during their collaboration.
Taft also creates commissioned work, after interviewing couples about a significant song in their relationship, he creates a painting featuring relevant lyrics, but there’s a twist, a hidden message is contained in these charming paintings to be decoded by the clients. This compelling series is so successful that a book, featuring commissions to date, was released in 2014, named, “The Double Entendre” Collection. Of course, Taft and Dana have their own painting of their significant song, “Can’t Smile Without You” by Barry Manilow, was relevant in their early days, Dana had an 8-track cassette player in her car, and it was the song which both remember fondly. Taft painted their song with a hidden message for Dana!
In the fall of 2022, another significant book was launched, this time championing other artists. “50 Artists Houston” is an informative book highlighting prominent artists in the area, many are those with whom there have been collaborations, exhibitions and encounters, all of which have been part of their journey as well as being prevalent in the Houston Art Scene. The resulting book is a must for art lovers in the area. A book signing event is scheduled for February, where the 50 artists will be present to autograph the publication. The book itself is a wonderful piece of art. Event information is available from http://www.taftmcwhorterart.com
Looking to the future, a new series of paintings are in the works, namely, “The Leo Series”. This collection will be the first of an annual compilation of limited-edition originals. With only 6 pieces available, these 40” x 40” paintings will be highly sought after. Leo, being Taft’s horoscope sign, is symbolic for the inaugural introduction.
When asked about their favorite works, the couple both concluded that their best creations are their 3 sons, and the recipe for a long and happy relationship is communication, intimacy and respect.
A book signing event is scheduled for February, where the 50 artists will be present to autograph the publication. The book itself is a wonderful piece of art. Event information is available from http://www.taftmcwhorterart.com