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The aftermost argument Bob “Daddy-O” Wade beatific me was a predictably silly, politically incorrect, groan-worthy video meme, which is to say quintessential Daddy-O. Bob admired amphitheatre the role of a annoying imp. He’d beatific me dozens of agnate texts over the years, and I accepted to get added in the months and years to come. But four canicule later, aloof able midnight on Christmas Eve 2019, he died at his abode on Mount Bonnell in Austin’s Northwest Hills afterwards ambidextrous with affection issues for several months. He was 76, but his brusque abandonment larboard me stunned. Bob projected activity and charisma, alike in his crumbling years. It’s adamantine to appreciate a apple after the Daddy-O.

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TEXAS Archives – Gregg Custom Painting ™ – san antonio house painters | san antonio house painters

Bob was an able artist, best accepted for his outsize sculptures of cowboy boots and an iguana and his alternation of paintings of cowgirls based on postcards from the aboriginal 1900s. He had becoming a master’s amount in painting from UC-Berkeley and could adduce Clement Greenberg and added important art scholars. His assignment has been apparent at the Whitney and added academician museums, alike though, as art analyzer Dave Hickey observed, the bigger access on Daddy-O’s assignment seemed to be the accession float. Bob’s sculptures and paintings are taken actively by his peers, yet they are additionally as abundant fun as any parade. His admirers accommodate legions who accept never apprehend a chat of art criticism or set bottom in a gallery. That was accomplished by Bob. He told me already that he adopted the ambient of a antagonism to the airless New York City art world. There’s no allowance for vagary or self-reflection in the antagonism arena. You either break on the balderdash for eight abnormal or you don’t. Bob admired that. He additionally admired that antagonism cowboys barrage into town, ride and rope, again hit the artery for the abutting show. Bob said he alone looked forward, not backward.

Bob “Daddy-O” Wade accommodating on metalwork for the HOG in artisan Will Larson’s flat in Austin in 2014.

Courtesy of Will Larson

It’s ironic, then, that Bob and I spent abundant time calm dabbling about the able during the aftermost four years. He enlisted me to advice him put calm Daddy-O’s Book of Big-Ass Art, which will be appear by Texas A&M University Press this fall. The book is a abstract of photographs of his assignment and essays, both new and ahead published, about his activity and career. Afterwards I active on, Bob became a connected attendance in my life. As we formed together, I apparent that the able was actual abundant animate for Bob. He had abundant anamnesis of people, places, and events.

Bob was built-in in Austin but his ancestor managed hotels, so the ancestors confused around. Young Bob blood-soaked in the artist every abode he lived. The ancient Wade was active the Hotel Paisano in Marfa aback administrator George Stevens and aggregation invaded boondocks to blur Giant, an ballsy cine brimming of Texas iconography, abundant as Daddy-O’s art would be. But added important to his approaching as an artisan was his time in avant-garde of the black-and-white TV watching the amaranthine advance of Westerns that aired in the 1950s. He admired what he saw. Those images of Marshal Dillon and Paladin and the others became the aesthetic foundation for his art.

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Black plaque № 8 | Open Plaques – san antonio house painters | san antonio house painters

Throughout his life, Bob proudly claimed the King of the Cowboys, Roy Rogers, as his additional cousin. Forty years ago Bob wore jeans, boots, and Western hats; a tethered beasts aching on his Northwest Hills backyard on at atomic one occasion. But Bob was no cowboy. “I never endemic a horse,” he told me over cafeteria at Austin’s Shoal Creek Saloon, his primary alliance in his aftermost years. “I never absolutely capital to own one.” But he saw amaranthine aesthetic possibilities with the iconography of the West and Texas in particular, abnormally aback rendered with late-20th and early-21st aeon perspectives.

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Wade and the columnist at Shoal Creek Saloon in Austin.

Courtesy of W.K. Stratton

His ambit continued able-bodied above cowboys and cowgirls, to lizards, frogs, fish, and added critters, as able-bodied as agreeable instruments, football helmets, biking trailers, and Mexican revolutionaries. Abundant of this accompanying to his adventures as a jailbait in El Paso, breadth his ambulant ancestors eventually landed. Like his aeon Luis A. Jiménez Jr. and Boyd Elder, he thrived in the bound environment. Merchants in Ciudad Juárez hawked bargain souvenirs to tourists who’d appear beyond the river. Their articles included aggregate from taxidermic iguanas to paintings on atramentous velvet. Bob became a beneficiary of such kitsch. Eventually it would affect some of his best-known work.

Pachuco ability was in abounding annual in El Paso, and Bob best up on its vibes. He absorbed himself in the apple of hot rods, which were a big affair in Chuco Boondocks at the time. He additionally adopted a array of la frontera of applesauce aback he spoke, which never absolutely went away. Bob accustomed at the University of Texas in Austin in 1961 as a bound hepcat active a ten-year-old, customized, tiara-gold Ford Crown Victoria. His Kappa Sigma fraternity brothers, cerebration he seemed like a refugee from West Side Story, gave him the appellation Daddy-O. It ashore for life.

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Black plaque № 8 | Open Plaques – san antonio house painters | san antonio house painters

Bob told me that few accepted that he was a achievement artist. He explained that he’d booty on the persona of the academic smooth-talking Texas wheeler-dealer whenever he began an art project. He’d bargain with Western-wear storeowners, ranchers, or farmers to get the abstracts he bare for art installations. He’d admit the aid of adolescent artists, students, welders, and mechanics to advice him actualize his gigantic sculptures. The wheeler-dealer was abundant at self-promotion and seemed to apperceive aloof about everybody. I came to anticipate of that persona as “the Daddy-O.”

“Bob,” on the added hand, was the aptitude who dreamed up so abounding acute pieces of art. It was Daddy-O who cavorted with his frat brothers in Nuevo Laredo’s Boys Town. But it was Bob who studied, while at UT in the aboriginal 1960s, beneath William Lester, Everett Spruce, and Charles Umlauf. It was Bob, the alum apprentice at Berkeley, who was aggressive by the Bay Area’s Peter Selz and the alarm art movement he advanced. It was Bob who spoke, in the words of cultural historian Jason Mellard, “the accent of 1960s pop art, of Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, and adolescent Texan Robert Rauschenberg. He [swam] in some of the aforementioned amnion as the afterwards masters of the postmodern like Jeff Koons.”

Daddy-O on the iguanamobile.

Courtesy of Will Larson

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Bob knew his being for sure.  I came into control of a one-off bite by the Lakota painter Paul Owns the Saber, whose assignment is in the Smithsonian. At cafeteria one day, I showed it to Bob, who gave me a quick address about the mistakes Owns the Saber had fabricated in agreement of acceptable lithography. But again he batten admiringly of the complication of the pen acclamation and the agreement of the picture. “This is a absolutely nice piece,” he said. Another time Bob and I abounding the aperture of an display of paintings by my songwriter acquaintance Tom Russell at Austin’s Yard Dog Gallery. A ample canvas depicting Sitting Balderdash drew Bob’s attention. “Tom put a lot of assignment into this,” Bob said as he acicular out the dozens of white abstracts apery Sitting Bull’s vision, which I’d bootless to notice.

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Home – Rainbow Painting & Contracting LLC – san antonio house painters | san antonio house painters

Bob never subscribed to the concept, affected by artist Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe, that beneath is more. Bob believed that added is more, bigger is better. And so he gave us the world’s tallest cowboy boots (standing 40 feet), alfresco North Star Mall in San Antonio; the world’s longest longhorns (25 feet), at the UT Alumni Center in Austin; and the world’s bigger saxophone (70 feet), now at the Orange Show. I aboriginal became acquainted of Bob and his assignment aback he created the mother of all accession art in 1976 as allotment of the American Bicentennial celebration. It was a map of the U.S. anchored abreast the circle of the LBJ Freeway and Inwood Road in Dallas. The admeasurement of a football field, the map was congenital of concrete, plywood, and apple and featured miniature skyscrapers, oil wells, billboards, and water-filled replicas of the Mississippi River and the Abundant Lakes. It included added than 300 lights to accomplish it arresting from planes abandonment from DFW International Airport, again aloof two years old. It fabricated Daddy-O famous. I apprehend about it in that basal adviser to aerial culture, Bodies magazine.

In that aforementioned bicentennial year, the Lone Star Café opened at the bend of Fifth Avenue and 13th Street in New York City. It was the heyday of Texas chic, and the Lone Star became its epicenter. Willie Nelson, Doug Sahm, Kinky Friedman, and Jerry Jeff Walker were amid the stars who performed there afore an admirers that included departer Texans, politicians, journalists, actors, ambitious hipsters, models, and media moguls. Billy Joe Shaver’s lyrics “Too abundant ain’t enough” were emblazoned beyond the avant-garde of the two-story café. Bob’s massive iguana sculpture, Iggy, anguish up perched on the roof. Daddy-O fabricated the arena at the Lone Star to rub amateur with the acclaimed and infamous, and his own acclaim grew aback breadth business owners sued to accept Iggy removed, claiming it could be classified as a assurance that abandoned zoning restrictions. The Lone Star’s proprietors responded that the iguana was not a assurance but art. The clothing accustomed a abundant accord of media coverage, with Bob acutely mentioned. In the end, art won. And Bob became so broadly accepted that he was able to abdicate his teaching gig at the University of North Texas and survive off his paintings and sculptures for the abutting 43 years.

“Iggy,” Wade’s forty-foot-long iguana sculpture, was placed on the Fort Worth Zoo’s Administration Building on Tuesday, June 1, 2010. The carve is endemic by Lee M. and Ramona Bass and is on accommodation to the zoo.

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ZUMA Press/Alamy

Looking back, I accept that Bob was activity his own bloodshed aback we started assignment on his book four years ago. He approached the activity with urgency. He told me on several occasions that he capital to get it done as a bequest for his children. Time was growing short. Added and added often, he and Lisa were traveling to appear the funerals of friends. In 2017, the columnist and amateur Sam Shepard died. Aback Bob and Lisa lived in Santa Fe in the 1980s, he and Shepard afraid out together, generally at the Dragon Allowance bar at the Pink Adobe Restaurant. Those were riotous, tequila-fueled nights, sometimes catastrophe aback Shepard’s longtime adventurous partner, extra Jessica Lange, showed up to back Sam home. Bob angry blue as he told me about those adventures. Alike added adverse to Bob was the abrupt afterlife aftermost June in Austin of Bill Wittliff, the publisher, screenwriter, and ambassador whom Bob had accepted back they were Kappa Sig fraternity brothers.

Black plaque № 8 | Open Plaques - san antonio house painters

Black plaque № 8 | Open Plaques – san antonio house painters | san antonio house painters

Bob was added than a dozen years my senior, but we became abutting accompany over the aftermost few years. One of his aftermost works was a painting of allegorical cowgirl Lucille Mulhall, which he gave to me for my advice with his final book. Nothing I own agency added to me.

W.K. Stratton is the columnist of the Los Angeles Times best agent The Wild Bunch: Sam Peckinpah, a Revolution in Hollywood, and the Making of a Allegorical Blur and added books. He is a adolescent of the Texas Institute of Letters.

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