Tanya Read

Message to Japan

Mr. Nobody sends a message to you of perseverance, hope and renewal.

Artist information

Tanya Read graduated from the Ontario College of Art and Design in 1995 and since then she has been active in the Toronto art community. She was an organizer and founder of the Impure artists collective in Toronto from 1994 – 1998. In 1999 Read and partner Scott Carruthers opened a storefront exhibition space called Fly Gallery in the Queen St. W. neighbourhood of Toronto. Fly Gallery closed in the fall of 2011 after 12 years.

Tanya created a character called Mr. Nobody in 1998 and since then her art practice has focused on projects featuring this character. Read has made super 8 animations, drawings, sculpture, silk screened t-shirts and video all featuring Mr. Nobody. Her work has received extensive critical acclaim including articles in The Globe and Mail, National Post, Canadian Art Magazine, Calgary Herald and Korea Times. She has exhibited work in Toronto, Calgary, Hamilton, Seoul, Korea and Japan. When not spending time with Mr. Nobody, Read enjoys the rock and roll life playing bass and singing in the band ‘Ethel and the Mermen’.

Mr. Nobody is a black and white anthropomorphic cartoon animal of questionable pedigree. The inspiration for this character comes from the Depression era cartoons of Max Fleischer (Betty Boop, etc.) and George Harriman (Krazy Kat). The drawing style of Mr. Nobody is a reference to the cast of characters that often appeared in animations of this era. Mr. Nobody is an attempt to embody the ambiguous and surreal quality of those cartoons. He is a Buster Keaton, a Charlie Chaplin, an average ‘Joe’ of our times, somewhat perplexed by the state of affairs in the world today.

Official Website: mr.nobody