On walks around her Brooklyn neighborhood during the COVID-19 lockdowns, Alison Elizabeth Taylor encountered the hair groomer Anthony Payne, who, with his workplace shuttered, had taken his scissors, mirror, and chair to the streets. Payne sought to financially support the Black Lives Matter movement, especially in the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder, and turned over proceeds from his donation-based haircuts to organizations advocating for social justice.
Taylor’s process, one she developed and named “marquetry hybrid,” incorporates vivid paints, inkjet prints, and the natural grains of over one hundred veneers. Marquetry, with its inlaid combination of woods, can “memorialize,” Taylor notes. She acknowledges the history of the craft, which was favored by Louis XIV (1654–1715) when he was acquiring furniture for Versailles. By giving Payne this “royal treatment,” Taylor aims to pay tribute to him. “I want him to see how much his example meant to me,” she explained.