Something Old, Something New: Gary Taxali’s Retro-Inspired Art

There’s a vintage flair to Gary Taxali’s art. A mixed-media artist working with paper, sculptures, drawings, and paintings, he is inspired by vintage comics, pop culture, and period advertisements that reflect the design and iconography of the 1930s. With his work both nostalgic and relevant, he allows political commentary to seep through his retro lenses.

According to Taxali, his iconic style has come to be during his studies, through much trial and error. “I was doing a lot of similar work and I was doing a lot of illustration,” he recalled in an interview with Cool Hunting. “I would just grab random things and start trying different techniques—not even techniques, more experimenting.”

After some playing around (and goofing around) with materials, he found his signature style. “I have a couple of different rules when I work,” he relayed, explaining the creative process that goes on behind the scenes. “One of them is that I don’t really like to work on anything white—like a blank canvas or a fresh piece of paper. I think it’s very scary and intimidating. I might do a drawing on a little piece of paper—a scrap paper from my studio—then I’ll think of where it’s going to end up. I might pick up a wood panel or an aged piece of paper and I think of that as most of the picture being already done, and then I think of the character or drawing as finishing it. After that I might then add a word.”

His body of work encompasses a broad spectrum of media, which includes public and private galleries and museums, leading international magazines, publications, merchandise, books, and public installations in the art. Some of his collaborations and clients include giants like Rolling Stone, GQ, The New York Times, and MTV, as well as Warner Bros., Paramount Pictures, and Coca-Cola.

“There has to be an element of play and fun in the commercial world,” Taxali notes, “and I’m fortunate that the art directors I work with get me. The ideas are an extension of my work; I don’t do other people’s ideas.” Scroll down to see more of his work.