Toronto-based artist and illustrator Gary Taxali gives discarded items new life by drawing and painting cartoon-like images on recycled and found materials. The stencil-like illustrations can be found emblazoned across used books, postmarked letters, outdated pamphlets and vintage papers of all persuasions.
Taxali reuses the textured fabric covers of vintage books, and yellowed dog eared pages that would normally deems these materials ready for the garbage bin. Taxali’s retro style of both figure drawing and lettering accentuates the unique textures and colors. The style of each of his mixed media pieces harmonize between material and his renderings. The artist’s round-faced bunnies and boys, smiling hams and teeth all harken the kitschy advertising style of the 1950s. The simplistic and heavy lines of each character are also reminiscent of characters in vintage cartoons and comic books.
The familiar style faces often mesh in collage style with the original markings on the recycled materials that Taxali creates on. Pencil and pen signatures and doodles harmonize with smiling faces, while ripped edges compliment the artist’s thickly placed lines. The resulting imagery is both charming and nostalgic, paying tribute to history of the book pages, torn hard covers, and tattered papers Taxali sources. The artist has also created vinyl toys, bronze sculptures and a children’s book.