In the lobby of Citizens National Bank in Brownwood this week, 83-year-old J.B. Taylor is delighted when visitors stop at his display of western-themed sculptures and ask questions.
Busts, created by the talented Taylor and resting on pedestals, include the resolute and determined face of a Texas Ranger, titled “One Riot One Ranger” and a the tired, haggard face of a cowboy titled “Herding Cattle at Midnight.”
Behind the pedestals, a table covered with a blue cloth is home to several smaller sculptures — some comical — with titles such as “Wild Cowboy Roping,” “Playing Cowboy,” “Bull Rider,” “I Am Smiling” and “Smile When You Call Me That.”
The water-based clay sculptures — all for sale — are highlighted by intricate facial details, and all but come to life under Taylor’s artisanship. Taylor, who is retired from the ministry, donates some of the profits from selling his sculptures to youth programs at Coggin Avenue Baptist Church, where he attends.
Taylor’s artwork is also sold in the Golson Valley Gallery in Evant and the Hunter Gallery in Brownwood.
Taylor’s display, which will be in the bank through Friday, includes a large framed photo of himself working on a sculpture and a framed bio sheet.
“I put that picture up so that when I’m not here I’m still here,” Taylor said, exhibiting a sense of humor that is part mischievous and part dead-pan.
Taylor, a graduate of Brownwood High School and Howard Payne University, lives near Lake Brownwood. His wife, Laverne, is a resident of the Senior Care Nursing Home.
Thirty-five years ago, Taylor began sculpting in wood and clay, and at age 83, he gan sculpting full time in his home studio.
Taylor’s work in the ministry included pastoring and serving as a Baptist camp director — and he still considers himself to be in ministry.
Taylor, the son of Bob and Mildred Taylor, developed a love of art as a boy. His father, an auto mechanic, owned Taylor Motors on Fisk. When a customer brought a car in with a mechanical issue, young J.B. (which stands for Jerry Bob) learned to listen to the engine and see the problem before actually finding the problem.
Taylor applied that technique as a minister to people. “Someone has got to see in their lives what they can become,” Taylor said.
Taylor said he uses the same technique as a sculptor. “Every bit of this, I saw finished in my mind before I started it,” Taylor said.