Antoine Tavaglione (aka TAVA)’s screaming hearts have become a signature visual for culturally driven Montrealers. His cartoon looking figures painted in a bright pastel color palette are the key elements to his excellent pop art. He precisely hands paints all his pieces regardless of the format. He has experience painting on canvas, murals, various objects and even products such as sneakers. His collaborations with corporations such as Nike and Adidas demonstrate his popularity and success.
Born in Montreal from Italian parents, TAVA started his career in the cartoon industry after completing a Creative Art program at Dawson College and graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts at Concordia University. He spent ten years learning and developing himself in that market. In 2010, he decided to challenge himself to a change of pace. His passion for creating was still prominent, so he decided to host his own, first solo exhibition as a visual artist. Not an easy feat! Luckily, it brought him enough positive feedback to keep going. Since then, his fast-growing achievements have brought him to international praise.
I visited his new studio in the mile end where we sipped on Pellegrino water and discussed the many art pieces around us. It felt simple and authentic. First off, I wanted to know where the screaming heart “came from”. Turns out, a painful breakup was the inspiration of a melting and screaming heart… Now, it sounds like that I could have guessed that! Of course, the visual of it is a little shocking at first but also brings a clear image of that feeling most of us have known. Quirky, edgy and of course, sentimental – sounds like something you can’t forget. Indeed, it has become a signature piece. The ¨melting effect¨ has since been used on many of his characters.
One thing you can quickly notice from Tava’s art is that his bright pastel colors keep coming back from one painting to another. You can identify the shades quickly and know that it is HIS work. He mentions that the shades may evolve with time like the entirety of his work but the tones, are part of his current style. He seems to have created his own brand of perfectly crisp paintings with the nostalgia of Saturday morning cartoons. It is vintage yet modern with its own unique twist. Luckily for Montrealers, he has created a few beautiful public murals we can all enjoy.
Ludo, The Fox, is one of Antoine’s very own cartoon personalities. That Fox has SWAG! My favorite character from his endless creations is a suave animal which he incorporates with well-known personages such as Tintin, Andy Warhol, and The Simpsons. I guess you can say that he gives life to his own creations by making it look like you must have missed something growing up! He mentions that incorporating his own concepts with classics such as Mickey Mouse helps them come to life. We couldn’t agree more!
If you follow him on Instagram, you will notice his cappuccino drinking ways in little Italy are in his daily habits. You can sense his joie de vivre in those little moments that he cherishes at caffe San Simeon and San Gennaro. Evidently down to earth and close to his Italian heritage, he enjoys the small things in life. Tavaglione still visits Italy twice a year. He has also once lived in Barcelona where his art flourished in the Scandinavian advertising industry. He states that traveling keeps him in a creative state of mind.
Since his start seven years ago, we were curious to know if his art style had changed over the years. Turns out, he only became better at his original technique that has naturally evolved. Currently represented by Galerie LeRoyer in Old Montreal, you can sometimes see his artwork in their windows on beautiful rue Saint-Paul. His artwork has been exposed in various cities around the world such as NYC, Barcelona, Dubai and Sao Paulo to name a few. His quirky visual cartoon driven art is grasping, simple and always fun. What would you want TAVA to create for you? For the Rabbit, we want to see Ludo having a screaming heart moment but still haven’t seen it!