Chandigarh-born artist makes it big

With a list of international clients, Chandigarh-born Gaurav aka Gary Taxali is now looking to explore India, writes Gurmukh Singh

Gary TaxaliIndian-origin Gary (Gaurav) Taxali, who has made a big impact in the art scene in the US, Canada and Europe, says showcasing his works in India is his ultimate dream.

The impact of this Chandigarh-born artist can be gauged from the fact that the New York Times, Rolling Stone, Esquire, Time, Newsweek, Fortune, Reader’s Digest, Warner Bros, Paramount Pictures, Sony, MTV, and Coca Cola are among his major clients.

Famous US art director Steven Heller has paid him the ultimate compliment. "Gary Taxali’s style, inspired by vintage comics and advertising art, is re-purposed with the goal of communicating the ironies and comical essence of popular culture," says Heller about the artist.

Toronto-based Taxali uses multiple media — ink, oil, acrylic, enamel and gouache — and a number of surfaces — paper, plywood, steel, aluminum — to create his works.

Many of Taxali's works are inspired by old cartoons
Many of Taxali's works are inspired by old cartoons

The 43-year-old artist, who left India with his parents when he was just one year old, says: "Tales of human condition shape how I create my work. I am inspired by the city (Toronto) I live in. I am also inspired by package design, advertising and old cartoons from the 1930s."

Curiously, the Depression era’s sorry events have inspired his funny works. "The invention of movies during the Depression had a big impact on the people. Immediately, they saw the entertainment capabilities of such a medium and therefore, the first ‘cartoons’ were made for adults. They all had adult themes, as people needed escapism," explains Taxali.

He says his Indian roots have impacted much of his works. "My roots are a vital part of what shapes my view of the world and for that, I feel grateful that I have so many rich and diverse cross-cultural influences from which to draw from."

Bollywood too inspires him. " I grew up being obsessed by these amazing (Bollywood) action heroes and their power. I had my ‘Indian Supermen’ as my confidence builders such as Amitabh Bachchan, who was the perfect idol," he adds.

Having exhibited in North America and Europe, Taxali is looking to explore India. "Mounting a show in India would be a dream come true! I have gained wide recognition in the US, Europe and Canada. I’d love to come back home and have an exhibit and see how people in India would see my work given it’s heavy influence of American pop culture and iconography intermixed with Indian symbols, marks, and typography," he adds.

"I am known for using old books as my canvas and it was originally seeing my father’s old Indian school books that sparked this," says Taxali. — IANS