Lauren Taylor overcomes traumatic brain injury, emerges as one of baseball’s most brilliant artists

Sports

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN)- In the midst of a Worldwide pandemic there has been an influx in art meets sport. People around the country are finding an outlet in both, including artist Lauren Taylor.

The Pacific Northwest native has found her voice, creating unique portraits of some of the best baseball players in the world.

“It’s really all I’ve known- Dirt, grass, baseballs, bats, uniforms and FOCUS.

But before she could focus on sharing the stories of athletes through art, she had to understand own journey.

Taylor said, “If you’re an athlete, you know from a certain age all you do is sport, eat, school.”

Lauren’s life was built around the game of softball, but four years ago she took a line drive to the face, suffering a traumatic brain injury.

“I lost my identity entirely when I lost being an athlete. It was very clear to me I was at an age where I wasn’t going to do anymore with sports, and the doctors told me another blow to the head would be a big deal,” added Taylor.

For several months life was dark, depression set in and Lauren struggled to get though the day.

“I’ve always dealt with anxiety and panic, but never that crippling where life just feels hard. The idea of getting up just felt like the hardest obstacle,” said Taylor.

But Lauren’s competitive nature navigated her in a different direction, bringing her back to light and reuniting her with something she was familiar with.

“I started to find my voice in art again, only this time it was more about sports because it’s what I missed so much,” added Taylor.

She began to create art on Birchwood panels, featuring superstar names like Mookie Betts and Anthony Rizzo.

“I started to figure out how to share a story with just one main image, yet have it within the jersey or the reflection of the helmet or sunglasses. I did that first with Mookie Betts having the reflection of Fenway Park in some sunglasses and then Anthony Rizzo and doing Wrigley Field in the helmet,” said Taylor.

Soon word of Lauren’s work spread though the league, and she found herself hand delivering portraits to players including former Vandy Boys; Dansby Swanson, Mike Yastrzemski, Walker Buehler, and Tony Kemp.

Taylor said, “Vanderbilt has been good to me, they’re some of my favorite people that I’ve every met.”

Bonding through art.

“A lot of good reactions and I’ve also been able to build relationships a bit with players,” added Taylor.

And building a legitimate career. Lauren’s work is now licensed by Major League Baseball and she is one of five females designing cards for Topps Project70.

“You have to wave your hand a little longer to get the attention, but once you get it you have to run with it because you’re opening the door for a lot of females behind you that deserve it. I take it as an honor and also a privilege,” said Taylor.

Lauren’s struggles have turned into strengths. And while she’s no longer playing the game, she’s still hitting home runs, expressing her love and sharing it on a whole new level.

“It’s been special. It has been a fast ride but it has been fun,” said Taylor.

Lauren Taylor’s first Topps Project70 card will be released on Monday. To check out her artwork and for more questions head to her website.

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