I STUMBLED UPON Gary Taxali a few years ago while randomly searching for strong, graphic work as inspiration for a product design commission I was doing for the Nova Scotia Agricultural College’s ORIGINS Project. Upon discovery of Gary’s work, I was instantly hooked.

Being a Canadian artist myself, I strive to put priority on Canadian artists when featuring  on my blog. After doing a little research,  I came to happily discover that the artist/illustrator is based out of Toronto.

Reasons I Love You, 2014

Reasons I Love You (2014)                                                                            © GARY TAXALI



Chump and Friends (2014)                                                                              © GARY TAXALI


Hollywood Magic (for Fast Company), Mixed Mdia on Paper jpg

Hollywood Magic (for Fast Company)                                                          © GARY TAXALI


On this side of Eden, Gary is one of the the foremost illustrators working today. He is one of those artists who fall under the category of stellar; being both prolific and talented on a enviable level. He has worked for such clients as TIME, Rolling Stone, The New York Times, including film and television such as Warner Pictures, Paramount, and MTV.  As Gary’s work has been in books, newspapers and magazines, he has also designed album art for rock/folk singer-songwriter Aimee Mann. Gary is also a fine artist, aside from being an award-winning illustrator, and his diversity in medium and aesthetic is evident in his work.  “I think my style is suited to everything – a picture is a picture.”, Gary stated in an interview for Creative Bloq. Aside from his artistic practice, Gary also lectures all over North America and teaches at OCAD University. He also has launched  a vinyl line of toys called Chump Toys, which naturally fall into the same category of awesomeness, as the rest of his work. In 2012, the Royal Canadian Mint launched a series of six celebratory 25 cent coins, designed by Gary, which are intended as keepsakes to mark special occasions, with themes ranging from birthday to wedding (and even the tooth fairy). The coins can be seen here: http://www.ocadu.ca/about_ocad/articles/headlines_archive/20120123_gary_taxali_coins.htm. 

Back Door Tactics (Fprbes Magazine) Mixed Media on Paper

Back Door Tactics (for Forbes Magazine)     © GARY TAXALI


Wonder (2012)-10.5 x 8.5 inches, Mixed Media

Wonder (2012)                                                                                                    © GARY TAXALI


Working in an array of media, Gary Taxali’s work manifests from serigraphy,  mixed media, installation, painting, sculpture and assemblage. Though his work avoids the air of nostalgia and the sentimental, his graphic inspiration harkens the work of EC Segar (creator of Popeye), the Fleischer Brothers, Dr. Seuss; Maurice Sendak, 1930s typography, vintage comics and advertising,  Russian Constructivism, and Pop artist Andy Warhol.  While there is a clear reference to these vintage Greats, Gary’s  approach in how he integrates this aesthetic is fresh and purely contemporary. His work is rather a map or grid-work of images, old and new, that seem to poke humour at,  yet reveal the fragility of our modern, somewhat superficial and consumerist culture. Gary states about his own work “It continues with my preoccupation of constant paradoxes such as human relationships, love, isolation, period advertisements, propaganda and economic despair and frustration”  (from The Outsiders).

Gary’s work brings a smile to my face, and while his work is much more than just its aesthetic element, it helps me to remember that there is still merit and influence in the bold and bright, iconic graphics of yesterday. When applied and/or appropriated thoughtfully, it is interesting to see how it has impacted contemporary art practice and design. This, I find none doing better than a small handful, in which Gary stands out.

Hindi Nick Names (2009) 21.25 x 27 inches, Mixed Media on Paper

 Hindi Nic Names (2009)                                     © GARY TAXALI


northern lights

 Northern Lights                                                                       © GARY TAXALI

You can view more on Gary Taxali’s website:







About mary garoutte

Welcome to Mary Garoutte Fine Art; a blog and visual diary of my inspirations and past/recent art. Mary Garoutte Fine Art is a multi-faceted proprietorship, offering fine art, live event painting, private art lessons & public workshops, art consultation and mentorship. Please periodically check-in for updates on exhibitions, classes, painting events, mentorship services, and also part-time job opportunities, such as studio assistance & photography. I am an emerging visual artist based in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. Originally from Mesa, Arizona, it’s has been a long journey to find my artistic roots in Eastern Canada. I studied painting at NSCAD University and majored in fine art (BFA 2004). Since graduation, I have taught painting and drawing workshops to adults and children, notably the NSCAD School of Extended Studies. I have also had the opportunity to exhibit in both solo and group exhibitions throughout Canada and internationally. Nowadays, I occupy my time between working part-time as an arts administrator and private art instructor and part-time as a professional visual artist. I have worked for about a decade painting the quaint landscape, architecture & vernacular of Eastern Canada. Recently, I am shifting into Magic Realism with its strong and subversive narrative and dreamlike subject-matter. I am a painter who has a photographic background, and interest in the medium of film and cinematography, which is reflective in my paintings in the pre-occupation with light, shadow, and dramatic and cinematic imagery. Major influences which I attribute the aesthetic of my work include Canadian Post-Impressionism, Alex Colville, British figurative artist Lucian Freud, Surrealist artist Rene Magritte, American artists Wayne Thiebaud & Edward Hopper, as well as Canadian photographer Gregory Crewdson and film giants such as Alfred Hitchcock. I accept public and private commissions. For pricing and inquiries, please contact me through my blog or by email.
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6 Responses to FEATURED ARTIST: Gary Taxali

  1. bchapeskie says:

    Awesome! Love this work, and I’ve never seen it before. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • Thanks Bryanna! Glad you liked the feature. I figured you would appreciate it, if anybody, as I know you also gravitate to illustrative work. Gary is one of my favourites.

  2. Leekai Opoku says:

    I’d never heard of Gary prior to your blog but I love his work and enjoyed looking at his portfolio. For some reason his work reminds me of Popeye the sailor man. Amazing! Thanks for sharing.

    • Hi Leekai,

      It’s funny that you mentioned that Taxali’s work reminded you of Popeye, as apparently one of his inspirations is Elzie Crisler Segar, who was the creator of Popeye. 🙂

  3. Good choice, Mary, and an unexpected one, too. An American contemporary of Mr. Taxali that you may also enjoy is illustrator Gary Baseman. Their works seem to me to be related in a funhouse-familiar-crazy-cousin kind of a way. However, as a painter who so enjoy her colours, you must be careful with these dudes, as the flatness of their wonderful paintings is beguiling. The beautiful masses of black. Next thing, you’ll be doing woodcuts or comics!!

    • Kevin, I’m thrilled that you’ve been reading my blog. 🙂 Thanks for the suggestion to look-up the work of Gary Baseman. I’ve never heard of him, but I’ll be sure to check out his work.
      Your wisdom is appreciated regarding the foil of work such as this to something so different such as the work I do. I’m usually not moved by illustration, (except for a small dozen of illustrators working out there), and to choose to feature an illustrator on my blog is definitely unusual for me, as I am actually a bit of a purest and try to normally feature and focus on painters, where this is a painting blog and all. However, it is sometimes fun to throw a monkey-wrench into the whole thing and feature unlikely artists and media that amuses and ispires me, as a means to keep things fresh. I am too eclectic to stay in the confines of mere fine art/painting. There’s definitely a side of me that loves the graphic quality of illustration and graphic design, and I often dapple into it from time to time to feed that ‘other’ creative muse. Some day, apart from painting, I would love to illustrate children’s books.
      And don’t worry…you won’t be seeing woodcuts or comics coming any time soon from me – haha. 🙂
      Thanks for reading.

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