By Sara Angel - Wednesday, January 11, 2012 - 0 Comments
Famed artist and illustrator Gary Taxali tackles his biggest small project yet—the 25-cent piece
Few Canadians can afford an oil painting by Gary Taxali, whose whimsical, vintage-inspired art sells for as much as $10,000 and is part of collections in New York’s Whitney and London’s Victoria and Albert museums. Now everyone will have a chance to own an original when his images appear on the smallest surface he has ever worked on: a 25-cent piece.
While each of the Toronto-based artist’s six coins is a mini-masterpiece, it’s unlikely you’ll see them the next time a cashier gives you change. The Royal Canadian Mint’s 2012 “celebration” quarters, to be unveiled Jan. 17, are meant to be keepsakes, to mark marriages, birthdays and even the tooth fairy’s visit. You can spend them if you want, but it’s unlikely you will, because all but one will be packaged in sets and sold for $19.95. The tooth fairy coin is $9.95.
The mint’s decision to commission the artist to design its special edition, 25-cent coins marks a fresh direction for the federal money maker. Famed artists Alex Colville and Robert Bateman created wildlife coins in 1967 and 1990 respectively, but most of the mint’s designers are not household names. Taxali brings his retro style to the imagery and typography, and uses his trademark font “Chumply” on all six quarters. To celebrate the arrival of a new baby, he presents a toy rabbit, moon, duck and other objects as smiling characters that hang from a child’s mobile. His birthday coin design shows a wide-eyed cupcake carried away by balloons. To mark the December holiday season, Taxali created laughing ornaments that dangle from a tree gazing mischievously at one another. For his tooth fairy coin, Taxali crafted a puckish sylph who waves a molar-capped wand as she nods downward with an enchanted grin.