Gary Taxali by Seymour Chwast

Gary Taxali

I identify with Gary’s work. The connection with 1930s comic-strip art informs a lot of his work and mine. His characters (evoking the same era) are both innocent and menacing.

I share some of Gary’s obsessions, they make me nostalgic. But maybe because he is not old enough, his interest is not in nostalgia… he has darker motives. His compelling gestalt is the same as that of “fine art”, playing with mystery and ambiguity, with sly, deadpan, appealing humor. Dadaism was an anti-bourgeois anti-art movement. Gary’s art qualifies for that label, and it’s amazing that it finds expression in mainstream media. In fine art circles styles like Gary’s are called lowbrow or pop surrealism, at times confounding critics, but appealing to collectors. He deserves credit if his work is accepted by editors whose artistic acumen may be limited.

The surface of his work is often distressed. This patina is enhanced by his muted earth colors, that remind me of packages (again from the 1930s) that have knocked about all these years and ultimately wound up for sale in antique shops. This conceit is part of the style of other artist, but Gary’s imagination, style and content merge to make a beautiful whole. Besides I don’t know anyone else who makes pants to look like cucumbers.

Looking at Gary’s work, you will be drawn into an amazing parallel universe of deep despair and heavenly wonder.

Seymour Chwast, graphic designer, illustrator and director of the Pushpin Group.