Contemporary artist and illustrator, Gary Taxali, has made a name for himself in the industry. With hundreds of illustration and design awards, as well as a 2009 Grammy Award Nomination for Best Art Package, his message is clearly heard. His work was also featured in top tier publications including Time, Rolling Stone, The New Yorker, and The New York Times.
With this many accolades, it comes as no surprise that his upbringing was very much entwined with his creative education. Born in India, Taxali moved with his family to Canada when he was only one year old, and admits to being encouraged by both his mother and father to experiment creatively.
“From an early age, I was really influenced by my father,” he recalled in an interview with 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.”
“My mom, who was a different kind of influence, was so positive about everything I did,” he adds. “I would draw pictures to make her laugh—and she did.” Eventually, Taxali was enrolled in community-center art classes, which he admits he absolutely loved.
It was actually during his youth that he found the roots of his artistic voice. “When I was in art school, looking at my childhood drawings and things, I thought, That was fun! That’s actually who I am,” he explains. “So I circled back to that, and continued to develop that aesthetic, which I love.” Both naive and quirky, his illustrations have a retro edge to them, that adds to their spunk. Here are some highlights from his Instagram page: