Preservation Please, Art Imitates Life

By Jan Stein
Cultural Affairs Magazine 2003 Volume 6 Issue 7
Reprint permission granted by Cultural Affairs Magazine

   Both art and preservation significantly impact the cultural character and quality of life throughout Hillsborough County's growing areas.  Personally expressive and rich with nature preservation themes, the Hillsborough Collection (watercolor paintings), including the Golden Aster series, by regionally recognized artist Taylor Ikin, depicts beautiful imagery, and offers an important preservation message regarding saving our region's communal properties.
   The little recognized endangered species of flora known as Chrysopsis Floridana, or Florida Golden Aster, family Asteraceae grows on at least five sites near Ruskin and Riverview in Hillsborough County.  The unique species looks more like a weed and occurs inconspicuously in open, sunny area, and in sand pine-evergreen oak scrub vegetation on excessively drained fine white sand.  Through guided tours arranged through the Hillsborough County Parks, Recreation and Conservation Department throughout the county's protected properties, Taylor Ikin, the (65 years young) watercolorist, is in the process of painting more than 30 unique and interpretive watercolor paintings that preserve various county scenes, which are protected and virtually inaccessible to the general public.  When complete in April 2004, the Hillsborough Collection shall include multiple watercolor paintings on *YUPO, depicting the County's preserved properties, known as ELAPP lands, and its flora and fauna.
   While aesthetically conceived, an unusual feature to the paintings is Ikin's sue of traditional watercolor media applied to a synthetic surface (tree free) YUPO.  Since no trees are required in the processing of YUPO , the use of this innovative and environmentally safe material further supports the artist's interest in preservation and conservation.
   So for the next few months, Taylor continues to intimately observe, photograph in the field, and sketch the County's pristine nature, situated on land acquired through the Environmental Lands Acquisition Properties Program (ELAPP), established by the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners in 1987.
   The Hillsborough Collection is confirmed to open in Tampa, then at the Capitol Gallery in Tallahassee, travels to The Florida House in Washington, D.C.; goes to the Leepa Rattner Museum in Tarpon Springs, and then heads south to Del Ray Beach, Florida for a special exhibit at the Cornell Museum.  All of the artwork is for sale to collectors who will lend their acquisitions to be exhibited in the traveling shows.  Contact Taylor Ikin at (813) 839-2480 to arrange a Tampa studio visit and to accompany her on a field guided tour.  Slides/transparencies are available.

Previous Back to Articles & Publications Next