Putting the pop in a pop-up exhibition at Waddington’s auctioneers this week in Toronto is Gary Taxali.
The India-born, Toronto-based illustrator has 41 works for sale there between Thursday and Feb. 9, with prices from $1,500 (for a modest-sized mixed-media piece on paper) to $15,000 (for a large mixed-media illustration on wood).
The sale’s the brainchild of Waddington’s vice-president of business development Stephen Ranger who, in that capacity in 2012, started Concrete Contemporary Auctions and Projects to woo a younger, hipper clientele into buying newer, hipper art with no “taint” of the Group of Seven.
Taxali, 46 this year, certainly fills that bill: The line of his illustrations – a zippy, accessible blend of early Mickey Mouse, late Keith Haring, the original Nancy and Sluggo and the Rich Uncle Pennybags character on the Monopoly game board – is as instantly recognizable as that of Seth and has won commissions from Rolling Stone, GQ and The New York Times.
The exhibition, punningly titled Shanti Town, also will feature such not-for-sale Taxali creations as wine labels, toys and coins. “It’s been a really exciting thing to do and a lot of fun,” says Ranger.