Meet Chris Taylor, AMSG’s Director of Proposal Operations and a multi-hyphenate creative who is a passionate artist, brewer, soaper, mom, and personal trainer. Also known as AMSG’s “Employee Number Four,” Chris has been writing award-winning proposals since 2009 when she started at AMSG.
When she’s not writing and overseeing AMSG’s proposals, she’s painting, brewing, or following her various creative passions. Early on, her mother’s artistic ability helped cultivate her skills as a painter. While Chris’s paintings reflect a rich tapestry of emotions, capturing the essence of her unique perspective on her environment, her creativity is not limited to painting. She explores the worlds of brewing and soap-making, adding more layers to her artistic repertoire.
The proposal business is a stressful one with hard deadlines and the requirement to navigate coordination between teammates, contracting offices, and the AMSG Team. Chris’s big hobbies help alleviate the stress she incurs from her job, and provide needed down time. In her world, creativity knows no bounds. Her journey is a testament to the idea that one can successfully blend the realms of business, art, and family with grace and passion.
Read Chris’s interview below.
AMSG: Introduce yourself – who are you?
Chris Taylor (CT): I’m an artist, a mom, a brewer, a soaper, a personal trainer, and a proposal manager. I keep busy and I work hard. My dad and my brother died early, and their deaths motivated me to get as much out of my day as possible.
I had a tough time with the loss of my dad, who was an Army Social Worker, my best friend, and confidant. And Rick, who was my big brother, was just as charming and intelligent as they come. Dad died at 69 of an aneurysm and Rick died at 41 in a car accident. Their deaths were back-to-back, and they instilled in me the preciousness of life and brought me closer to God.
Life seems fleeting and there never seems to be enough time. I feel like God has blessed me with a great family, a great job, and a great place to live. I just want to be task-oriented and get the most out of each day. I love AMSG. I love the people, and I want to do the best I can to make the company successful and provide employment to all these special people! And my hobbies help me focus on that mission and succeed at my job.
AMSG: What are you passionate about?
CT: I guess I’m most passionate about my proposals. I’m always amazed by how much time and effort they take. When they’re submitted, it’s such a relief. But when we win, I’m so elated! I’m addicted to that feeling.
I also feel that passion when I paint a nice painting and produce a good IPA or a nice wine. I actually got into brewing because my husband was a beekeeper, and he had a friend from the Prince William Regional Beekeepers Association give him all this beer making equipment, to include carboys, bottles, hydrometers, etc.
It was lots of stuff and took up a ton of room in our basement, so I told my husband, Tom, one day, either you or I have to start making beer or I will throw all this stuff out! Tom said knock yourself out, so I got on YouTube and took the American Ale 101 class about six times! I had so many questions for the brew supply store that they made me join the Downright Obsessed Homebrewers (DOH) Club of Manassas.
I joined and it was kind of fun because here I was – a gal in her 50s – at these meetings with 30 other guys in their 30s and 40s. It was pretty funny, but, let me tell ya, guys in beer clubs LOVE talking about their brew-making processes and sharing recipes.
So, first year in, I took second place overall in the Club competitions (they have six or seven internal comps every year) and earned the guys’ respect. The first-place winner the three years I’ve attended, opened up his own brewery in Haymarket along with four others in the club. They have a very successful brewery now called Trouvaille Brewing Company.
AMSG: How long have you been painting?
CT: I’ve been painting since I was in high school. I got a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Art from the College of Charleston, which I floated through without paying too much attention to my grades (laughs), and then an MBA for work later in 1997 (I earned much better grades then!).
AMSG: How did you get started painting?
CT: My mother was an abstract landscape painter. She was exceptional. She used to critique my work and throughout my life, I provided opinions of her work, which helped inform and improve my work and technique.
When I was in high school, we lived in the Panama Canal Zone, and at that time she was juried in and awarded the Central American Artist of Year one year. Later after college, I moved with her while she lived in Stuttgart, Germany. While there, she had a show in Heidelberg where she made $10K on sales of her paintings. She was legit and by far the most optimistic person I’ve ever met. She always had a smile on her face. She died in 2023 and I miss her. She inspired me in many ways.
AMSG: What do you paint and what material do you paint on?
CT: I’m having fun right now painting landscapes in acrylics. Recently, I finished a landscape of our AMSG Makindu trip for my son Zach Taylor who also works in Business Development at AMSG and attended the trip (see photo).
I also paint pet portraits in watercolor, dyes, and pastels on paper. And in years past, I had a side job where I sold house paintings by taking a photo of a house, filtering it in photoshop for just an outline, and then printing on textured Strathmore paper and then going over it with pastels. It was a fun process and made me a couple of bucks on the side!
My music and sports series were back when I lived in Vegas. They were mixed media. Back then, I had shows at coffee shops and one at an art gallery. I was commissioned by my husband, then the Security Squadron Commander on base, to paint some basketball paintings. Needless to say, he liked them, and later asked me to marry him so that he could hang all my paintings on his walls (laughs).
All my work and paintings can be found on my website at www.taylorddesign.com.
AMSG: Who is your favorite artist?
CT: Lots, but Andrew Wyeth and Van Gogh are probably my favs.
AMSG: Who/what inspires you?
CT: My father inspired me to be emotionally mature. My mother inspired me to be flexible and creative. My son Zach inspires me to be calm and kind. My daughter Madison inspires me to be objective and to look at things from a different direction. And my husband inspires me to be patient and non-judgmental.
AMSG: What do you love about painting?
CT: Making good ones! They don’t all turn out as planned!
AMSG: Tell me about your painting process?
CT: Right now, I’m into landscapes. To find an interesting view, I take photos. I use the photo to provide a basis for the composition. I’ve also been painting my backyard a lot because I can’t find enough time to wonder around taking beautiful photos. If anyone wants to share some cool photos with me that I can use as a basis for a painting, send them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. But when I paint my landscapes, I layer, layer, layer. I typically start with a sky color and build on that. Then clouds. Then the horizon, and then the foreground.
AMSG: What do you like most about being a painter?
CT: I don’t know why I like it because it is hard. When I complete a painting, I never know if other people like it. I know the ones I like, but everyone has different opinions and feelings about art. As the French painter and sculptor Marcel Duchamp once said, “The artist doesn’t know who he is or what he’s doing. It’s the spectator, who thru a kind of inner osmosis, interprets and deciphers the works qualifications and relays it to the external world.”
Oh, the Mid-20th century … those were the days, right!
Written by: Juania Owens