Las Artes

August 10, 2014

Tony Schaub’s Visual Hilarity

Tony Schaub

People who love a good time, anything retro, and pop art cannot miss the upcoming opening reception for Tony Schaub at the Harlingen Arts & Heritage Museum. Tony and his wife Beverlee are planning something very special in secret, but we managed to get a peak of what is to come, and all I can say is that it is going to be like something you have never experienced before.

This is the second time Schaub opens an exhibit at HA&HM. The first one titled “City Limits” opened in 2007. This one is a complete opposite, for his inspiration comes from the farm hence the title “On the Farm.” “Ultimately, we are a farm community,” he said. “We live in a tropical farm town, and that is where my inspiration for this exhibit came from.” Be ready for videos, suitable background music, and performance art. When we asked what type of music is suitable for the farm; he said we are going to have to wait to find out. But Schaub did agree to pose with a couple of his paintings and with little Dolly, the farmer’s daughter which is part of the exhibit. The opening reception will be held on Thursday august 28, 2014 from 6 – 8 p.m. at the Harlingen Arts & Heritage Museum, and will remain open to the public until the first week in November. And don’t forget to bring your wallet, for some of his work will be for sale.

Schaub holding 'Getting Ready for the Barn Dance" painting of a little pig.

Schaub holding ‘Getting Ready for the Barn Dance” painting of a little pig with red shoes.

Schaub describes himself as a visual entertainer who creates visual hilarity.  He likes to combine the impossible producing very uplifting results. Schaub’s sense of humor will not hide from the spectator, for he thrives on having fun, let his imagination go and just see what happens.  “On the Farm” consists of about forty new and original paintings, a couple of older pieces, and about a dozen three-dimensional works. Schaub has been working for months on this exhibit, and we will have the opportunity to admire it while having a good time on August 28th .  “I didn’t cut any corners with this one, and I’m giving it my best shot.” Schaub stated.  Great art, entertainment, and free admission; it does not get better than that.

For this interview the Philadelphia native welcomed us into his studio on Jackson Street in downtown Harlingen. Since 2006 he works, lives and shows his work in the same building.  He welcomes a slower pace now that it is age appropriate he said. He is a big fan of the Beatles and relishes the memory of seeing them live the first time they came to the United States in 1964. Schaub’s life is as colorful as his work. After graduating from High School Schaub enlisted in the Air Force and served at Ellington Air Force Base as a weatherman. “Ellington AFB is located next to NASA, so I got to meet the early astronauts and give them weather briefings as they flew back and forth to Florida. It was fun and exciting for a teenager!”

The Artist in his Studio

The Artist in his Studio

Schaub recalls spending countless hours in the tower looking at the clouds letting the imagination go, and plenty of time to dream. Magic Markers had just hit the market, and Schaub worked the night shift, so it wasn’t long before his white pants turned into a white canvas where he drew a cartoon of President Nixon on one of his back pockets, and completely plastered them with colorful images. He said he cannot remember anybody saying anything about them. After the service, the pants became his rock concert pants, and he proudly wore them to see the Beatles in concert.

His life’s journey took him to work and play in San Francisco in the late ‘60s, and to Houston in the ‘70s where he became the “it” pop artist, and was even featured in Texas Monthly. A framed magazine clipping of the story hangs on one of the walls in his Harlingen studio. In the late ‘70s he visited South Padre Island to paint the walls of his friend’s new restaurant: Blackbeard’s. He also painted works for the SPI Convention Center and Louis Backyard. In 2006, Schaub and his wife moved permanently to Harlingen where clients find him today.

Schaub expressed his admiration for Salvador Dali, Walt Disney and an English graffiti artist named Bansky. He is a fervent admirer of James Rosenquist; an American artist and one of the protagonists in the pop-art movement of the 1960s. “I couldn’t clean this guy’s brushes,” he said. From a young age Schaub knew he was going to be an artist, and he wanted to paint like the masters. “I knew I was going to be an artist like Da Vinci because if I can do that, then I can do chickens.” Schaub concluded.

The featured photograph for this story is the one Schaub selected for promoting his exhibit. At the top of the painting it reads: WHO YOU CALLIN’ CHICKEN? Schaub recalled the time he found this portrait of a chicken with an attitude like if it was saying “who you calling chicken,” and he couldn’t resist painting it using acrylics and enamel to give it those vibrant colors. If this painting is an introduction of what it is to come, we need to mark our calendars, and be ready to be amazed by the work of Tony Schaub.

 

The Harlingen Arts & Heritage Museum is located at 2425 Boxwood Street in Harlingen. For more information please call (956) 216-4901

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About the Author

Nydia O Tapia - Gonzales
A bird does not sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.-Maya Angelou. La Vida Valle is where I write about "la vida" life in the Rio Grande Valley. From this bi-cultural corner on the tip of Texas, I share my poems and spiritual and travel experiences. I also blog about the arts,nature and my passion for historic preservation and architecture. But most important, let's talk about "la vida" - living our lives - in a vacation state of mind. Contributions and comments are always welcome .




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