Artist story: Taylor John

Published 14 November 2021 in Artist Stories

Please can you tell me more about how the overdose crisis affected you directly?

The day I lost Ryder, I had just finished a cross country trip across Canada to move into my new suite in Halifax, Nova Scotia. I remember going for a walk and being so excited for new adventures, a place that my family could come visit and enjoy. I had just finished telling my partner how I had to get my brother over here soon, he would love it... however, as soon as we walked back to my new place, I received a phone call that nobody ever wants to hear from their mom, “your brother is no longer with us”. I remember letting out a blood-curdling scream, it was like a black hole had sucked all of my surroundings into my chest around me, I felt paralysed. This feeling stuck to me for months, it sometimes still creeps its way in.

My entire year has been an absolute struggle, it’s been hard to find myself again. My brother was my best friend – he still is. The only thing that has helped me become grounded was creating art. Through my drawings I’ve been able to connect with Ryder and myself to dedicate a beautiful series of artwork to him, pieces that I would love to share with the world. Ryder was a beautiful, talented soul. He was a musician, an artist and a genuine friend. He had a passion for spiders, particularly tarantulas. When he was intrigued to learn something, he would research it until he was a pro. Ryder was brilliant, and amazing; and unfortunately, like many others, taken from us far too soon.

I value being able to share my work among other artists who have suffered through this crisis. To share our individual experiences and connect with others who understand the immense pain means a lot to me. I send love to everyone affected by this crisis, and I hope for everyone to find some peace.