For half-a-year, I have been enjoying a most original, deliciously visual site called Levitation.
A young Japanese photographer, Yowayowa, captures her own image in various stages of "flight," though what she is actually doing is jumping at the instant her image is captured.
I signed up for Yowayowa's RSS feed -- so whenever she posts online, I get an email with her latest photo. Yowayowa's are some of my most eagerly awaited emails and they ALWAYS bring a smile to my face, even sitting at my computer alone... her shots are original and whimsical.
Check out the site and sign up to receive Yowayowa's emails (she doesn't post too often... maybe once every two weeks; since last May, there have only been 16 emails).
Often, readers ask, “who drew that cool dude?” referring to the iconic character in the upper left-hand corner of this site, who represents me, Napaman, a guy who writes about wine (and food) on the internet.
The answer is: Toronto artist Gary Taxali.
I saw this particular image in an international edition of Time magazine four years ago. I LOVED the image and knew that I wanted it for my soon-to-launch website, napaman.com; it perfectly portrayed, in a light-hearted way, what this site is all about.
I contacted Time, got the illustrator’s name and flew to Toronto to meet Gary. We negotiated a price for his original art and we subsequently became good friends.
Gary is a still-young, highly talented artist/illustrator. There’s almost no week that goes by without seeing one of his images illustrate a story in the New York Times, Business Week, Esquire, GQ, Rolling Stone, or Time.
Or I see his work on a wine label, or on a wind-up toy in a museum gift shop. The guy is everywhere.
And now, Gary has just published two books, compendia of his magazine illustrations and there are no repetitions in the two books – if you like his work, you need to consider buying both. That’s what I just did.
Gary has a weird, wonderful and warped way of expressing life in shades that resemble a vintage comic book; there is an underlying commentary on sex, life, and consumer behavior, and if you study his work, you will see that many of his characters return, time and again, as foils to make another social commentary.
Here’s what’s new:
I Love You, OK? Hardcover, 144 pages, featuring 120 works. This book, exquisitely printed in Italy, measures 6 x 7.5 inches and has text in English, German and French. Forewords by Aimee Mann and Shepard Fairey. $25 CDN (plus shipping) and each copy is signed.
Mono Taxali. Hardcover, 304 pages, featuring 175 works. This gorgeously printed book measures 6 x 7 x 2 inches (very thick book!). It features four-color printing on laid paper with special varnishes. Forewords by Seymour Chwast, Steve Heller, Charles Hively and Ferruccio Giromini. $65 CDN (plus shipping) and each copy is signed.
The books are available on Gary’s website. To order, or learn more, go to www.taxalionline.com.