Madison Originals Magazine Madison Originals Magazine February 2012 - Page 37

MadisonOriginalsMagazine.com | 37 certication, received a career boost several years ago. A family friend, Richard, invited Tony and Laurie to Naples, Florida. He wanted American Queen , a piece Tony had created as a hanging metal on wood, recreated as a sculpture. Richard gave Tony several hundred dollars to purchase the equipment necessary to create the sculpture, in addition to the purchase price of the piece. When Tony and Laurie returned to Florida two years later, they were invited to a large party of art collectors. For ve years, Tony’s work was sold exclusively to art collectors by photos alone, thanks to his brother Patrick’s involvement in art management and his help in furthering Tony’s career. For ve years, Tony also showed his work at Bindley Collection Gallery in Middleton. “A woman pulled into my driveway to see the sculptures I have in the yard. She said she knew Colleen Bindley, a gallery owner, and Colleen would love to display my art,” Tony explains. “Tony has a unique perspective on art,” says Colleen, who wasted no time in getting Tony’s art into her gallery. Thousands of artists submitted work for the Lakefront Sculpture exhibit in Chicago, and Tony was one of 22 chosen to participate. In May 2011, his 13-foot-high, 365-pound Mother’s Voice sculpture was installed on the corner of Halsted Street and Newport Avenue, where it will remain until this May. Composed of painted carbon steel, Tony says the piece is an exploration of dreams, ideas of self-worth, love, desire, and family. It’s interesting to point out that Tony’s initials, “AG,” are the chemical symbol for silver. As a welder and an artist, he needs to know which metals work well together. “Carbon steel rusts if not coated with enamel paint. Stainless steel doesn’t rust, but if the two metals are put together in a sculpture, a chemical reaction will occur and both metals will rust.” Most of Tony’s pieces will last ve to 20 years outside, and up to 20 years inside. Tony also has to use compatible welding wire with the steel to ensure a chemical reaction doesn’t happen.“When your life has been about art, you want others to be excited by it as you are,” explains Laurie, who is very supportive of her husband’s art. “What I have is a gift,” Tony adds. “I like to think of myself as a lotus ower which is beautiful despite the mud that it lives in.” Tony is very humble about his creativity. “Ego ruins what you have,” he says. “I want to be around artists who are just people.”Indeed, Tony has developed a great support system of professional artists who have inuenced him. “If you don’t support other artists, no one supports you. These artists have provided me with a lot of guidance.”Some of Tony’s art can be viewed at blackartinamerica.com/prole/AnthonyGassaway, and Tony can be reached at tnlgassaway@charter.net or (920) 787-5685. Jill Carlson is a freelance writer. Photographs provided by Anthony Gassaway . Drag QueenSatisfy Your Dream