Gary Taxali Makes Retro Art with a Post-Modern Edge

Acclaimed artist, Gary Taxali, is known for his retro, cartoonish illustrations, which draw inspiration from vintage comics and advertising. Based in Toronto, his art can be found on anything and everything, including graphic design, street art, and collectible designer toys. He has also published a children’s book titled This Is Silly! 

But his work isn’t child’s play. Having won hundreds of illustration and design awards, Taxali has also exhibited his art in many galleries and museums throughout North America and Europe. His illustrations were also published in top tier publications like Time, Rolling Stone, GQ, The New Yorker, and The New York Times.

Being as talented as he is, it’s not surprising to learn that his creative passion sparked at a young age. “From an early age, I was really influenced by my father,” he told The Great Discontent.

“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.”

His mother, on the other hand, had a different kind of influence. “[She] was so positive about everything I did,” says Taxali. “I would draw pictures to make her laugh—and she did.”

But though his work is greatly admired, Taxali admits that the world doesn’t really need him. “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,” he notes. “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.”

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