Texas sculptor Bob Wade dies at 76

Bob Wade, the famous Texas artist, is no more! He is the man who made the 40-foot-long sculpture of an iguana that got perched on top of Lone Star Cafe in Manhattan. The artist is also the man behind the 63-foot-high-saxophone that attracted several patrons to the Houston blues nightclub.

The sculptor and artist breathed his last on December 24th, 2019. He was 76 and died in his residence in Austin. According to Lisa Wade, his wife, the artist, died because of a cardiac arrest.

Interesting facts about Bob Wade

Bob Wade was called Daddy-O for over 40 years! He gave shape to quirky and huge public art that resonated with Texas’s affinity for gaining prominence and larger than life creations. The artist was whimsical at times and was also famous for his uninhibited style. A few sections of the audience did pay him the respect of a serious artist as well.

Mr. Wade and his creative renditions

Similar to the majority of his creations, Wade’s iguana that was named Iggy always stole a glance! The inspiration behind Iggy was a stuffed iguana that Mr. Wade’s friend got him from Mexico. As he was creating the gigantic shape of Iggy, Wade used polyurethane foam and wire mesh and gave it all the distinctive characteristic features. Iggy looks close to a monster that has spines like a knife on its back and a spiky-toothed mouth. It also has a vast dewlap. 

Speaking on his creation, once Mr. Wade said that he is aware that people in Texas love critters and all kinds of them! He shared this in a documentary film based on his work. The film was titled “Too High, Too Wide and Too Long: A Texas-Style Road Trip” and got directed by Karen Dinitz.

Interesting facts about the movie

This documentary film followed him across the state to witness his creative work. Here the artist, along with his friends two the Iguana Mobile, which was an Airstream trailer which Wade customized using an iguana head in front, made of fibreglass and a saddle atop it.

Mr. Wade’s Iggy, the iguana

People could see Iggy in the Lone Star, which is a themed space in Texas in 1970. It happened right after the artist had exhibited the iguana at a West New York exhibition, close to Niagara Falls. The artist then called the club owner, Mort Cooperman, asking him if he is keen to install this sculpture atop Lone Star roof. MR. Cooperman responded with a yes and also decided to pay the artist $1,000 annually. The deal got decided to be on for five years.

Mr. Wade described his Iggy, as a cocky, regal and confident taken from its original form. He also drew some elements from dinosaurs and dragons. In one of his interviews, Wade shared that Iggy held its own space with style and class in New York, which is a statement by itself Benjamin Gordon

The massive iguana stayed on through a significant chunk of the 1980s! Later there was a lawsuit that got filed by a few residents who wanted to take it down the sculpture. Despite this lawsuit, Mr. Wade remained a favourite for many people, which also included Mayor Edward I. Koch’s. The artist still lives on through his creations.