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Black Palette by Yaw Tony

Black Palette

The designer and artist’s new book is full of textual inspiration, illustrations and anthropomorphic narratives

By Catherine MacIntosh

A yellow-scarfed peacock pulls at a string while a pink face looks on from the doorway above, leading to a utopian setting with an “eye” looking out with an astronaut on the moon (he’s also the same size as the moon). This is but one scene from the hundreds of glossy full-page artworks in Black Palette by Yaw Tony. It should be noted that most of the animals wear scarves in Tony’s world. Civilized and fashionable, surreal and poignant, the Toronto artist’s work, like the man himself, is truly one of a kind. Tony is a trained architect, artist and textile designer with a penchant for philosophy.

Black Palette, Yaw Tony
Some of the multiple cover variations for Black Palette.

Themes emerge as you move through the multi-coloured pages of his new art book, Black Palette. Tony revisits five questions, he says, we are all asking, or should be: Who am I? Where am I from? Why I am here? What can I do? Where am I going? The answers take the form of beautiful images, historical and allegorical references, poetry and discourse. While drinking in the words interspersed between Tony’s luminous artworks in Black Palette, the reader is surprised, delighted and informed. It leaves a feeling with you long after you close the book. You come back to it again and again and see something new and thought-provoking each time.

Black Palette, Yaw Tony, Toronto Art
Inner Her I (left) and Inner Her II.

There are patterns and palettes that please the eye and words on self purpose, life’s meaning, and the true measure of success in a framework that’s poetic not preachy. The hefty book, which was printed with multiple cover variations, comes with a reference guide at the back. It’s rare to see an art book of this size, and one where every page is a standalone beauty.

Find It Here

Black Palette is available for purchase now in hard cover.

Yaw Tony, 2023
Artist and designer Yaw Tony (2023).

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