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Jeff Taylor

Jeff Taylor

flash mobster

Weird Charlotte: Are you originally from Charlotte, or did you come here from somewhere else? If you came here from somewhere else, where was that, when did you land here, and why?

Jeff: I'm one of the many people who migrated to Charlotte from the Northeast. Specifically, I came from Rochester, New York. I graduated college in a shaky job market, with a less than marketable degree: English, with a concentration in creative writing. I was without money, job opportunities or anything that could reasonably be considered a plan. Both my sisters had already moved to the Charlotte area and one of them offered to let me stay with her, in Huntersville, while I figured things out. I didn't know if I'd stay in Charlotte or not, but so far it's been about two and a half years and I have no immediate plans to leave – although thankfully I've made the move from the suburbs to the city.

WC: Of all you've contributed to the cultural fabric of Charlotte, what are some of your personal favorites?

Jeff: I'm one of the main driving forces behind the Charlotte flash mob group, which just recently managed to make the Charlotte Observer's State and Local section for boarding the Lynx train with about 40 people and blowing bubbles from one stop to the next. You can find us on facebook and twitter if you're interested in joining our growing ranks. Other than that, I've covered a few of the more interesting/strange events the city has hosted as a freelance writer for various publications. I also paint things that occasionally end up in galleries, restaurants, shows, etc. in and around the city, and which are apparently especially interesting to look at while under the influence of hallucinogenic drugs. Or so I'm told.

WC: What strengthens your dedication to do what you do, in spite of the fact that Charlotte has not yet developed a critical mass of creatively-attuned people?

Jeff: I’m more of a soloist than a collaborator by nature, so having a bunch of likeminded individuals around is more of a luxury than a need for me. There’s also a bigger audience here than I initially thought. I’m not sure what would qualify as a critical mass, but I have to think we’re approaching that number. Besides, in some ways it’s easier and more fun to create in a place that isn’t already overrun with creativity. It’s less intimidating for one.

WC: What sometimes discourages you about Charlotte and makes you dream of living somewhere else? And where would that somewhere else be?

Jeff: Well, it's a banking town in the Bible belt, so it's got that working against it. Yet when I think of what discourages me about Charlotte, it's mostly location-based. I just try to stay out of the uptown area and the suburbs. Other than that, I've pretty much come to terms with the difficulties I have with this city. I find myself enjoying living here more and more, actually. That said, I like the idea of the Pacific Northwest. I've also never been to Europe, which doesn't seem right.

WC: What would help make Charlotte a more vibrant cultural city?

Jeff: I think it would help if people weren't so easily discouraged. Charlotte can sometimes seem like a harsh, uncaring place for artists and freaks alike. I think that's more of a perception than a reality, however, even if there is some bit of truth to it. I'm convinced that there are far more interesting people in this city than there are boring yuppie drones. It just doesn't always feel that way.

WC: What can we do right now to make Charlotte a more vibrant cultural city?

Jeff: I've noticed that, for the most part anyway, the people in this city with money have rather lame taste and no real interest in supporting the local art scene. Conversely, the people with good taste and an interest in local art tend to be broke. Perhaps we could do a Robin Hood thing? Or maybe we can just wait for them all to get laid off from the banks, and for the problem to thus correct itself. Too soon?

WC: Let's say there's some creative person out there who's considering moving to Charlotte. If you could say one thing to them, what would it be?

Jeff: Do it. I dare you. Seriously, it's not as scary a move as it may seem. Charlotte is a big city still trying to find itself. There's more room to create and have an impact here than in a lot of other places that might initially come to mind. There’s also a lot less forced irony and pretentiousness here than in some of those other places, which is refreshing.