Contemporary artist and illustrator Gary Taxali is known for his retro stylized art in the realm of pop. Having won hundreds (!) of illustration and design awards, which include a 2009 Grammy Award Nomination for Best Art Package, Taxali has exhibited in many galleries and museums throughout North America and Europe. He has also worked for giants that include Converse, Time, Rolling Stone, GQ, The New Yorker, and The New York Times.
Based in Toronto, his art has been integrated in various mediums including collectible designer toys, public art, and a children’s book titled This Is Silly! But in an interview with The Great Discontent, the acclaimed artist sounds quite modest. “I don’t think the world needs me,” he says. “I think I just need to say things, and I’m lucky to be alive and to have the good fortune to live in a world that has granted me the opportunity to say them. I’m humbled by being alive, and by being who I am, and having the support of this amazing human experience. I think that there’s an obligation in terms of gratitude. And I think art should be revered, but it should never be put on a pedestal.”
Born in India and having moved to Canada when he was only one year old, Taxali says that he was encouraged to be creative by both his mother and father. “From an early age, I was really influenced by my father,” he says. “He didn’t draw or paint for a living, but he knew how, and I would watch him and he would give me lessons. I would ask him to draw things for me, like a cowboy, and he would. And then at a certain point, he started asking me to do those kinds of drawings, and would help me with form and give me tips. Eventually, he enrolled me in community-center art classes, which I absolutely loved. He was terrific. My mom, who was a different kind of influence, was so positive about everything I did. I would draw pictures to make her laugh—and she did.”
But it took him some time before he realized his artistic style. “When I was in art school, looking at my childhood drawings and things, I thought, That was fun! That’s actually who I am. So I circled back to that, and continued to develop that aesthetic, which I love,” he says.
Here are some highlights from his Instagram page.