A hobby cartoonist since childhood, Taylor created Gustafer in 2004 when his more straightforward rock act stagnated. "I had all these weird quirky songs I wasn't performing with my band - including this one song called 'I'm from the Sun,' which was about being different. And I also had this yellow pointy headed guy I had been doodling for a while, and I didn't know what his story was. And I thought, 'Hmm, maybe I should put this guy in here.' . . . I started drawing out the other characters, and before I knew it, I had this whole little world."
Gustafer Yellowgold debuted in 2005 in a DVD collection, "Gustafer Yellowgold's Wide Wild World." Children loved the characters and songs, and adults appreciated the mellow melodies and relatable themes.
In 2008, "Gustafer Yellowgold's Mellow Sensation" ran for 22 weeks off-Broadway. The band also achieved crossover success, opening for groups such as Wilco and the Polyphonic Spree. Taylor attributes his success to a formula he said came about accidentally: "A little bit of absurdity, a little bit of catchy pop music, and a touch of real sentimentality."
These days, Gustafer Yellowgold is a full-fledged empire - apparel, stuffed dolls, picture books and more. The $10 dolls are the best-seller. "I think the kids like to have him," Taylor said, "and they can use their imaginations based on what they've seen. To me that's the coolest part."
Gustafer Yellowgold, 11:30 a.m. Saturday, World Cafe Live, 3025 Walnut St., $7-$10. www.gustaferyellowgold.com.
Art Attack is a partnership with Drexel University and is supported by a grant from the Knight/NEA Community Arts Journalism Challenge, administered by the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance.