DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) — Big Tex finally arrived in Fair Park on Friday, bringing a flurry of people who gathered to watch.
But in the crowd, you’ll find one North Texan not focused on Big Tex at all. The real one anyway.
Eric Hansen is a Dallas fine artist who spends every Friday before the fair live painting the icon as he is lifted into the air.
He focuses on the strokes of his brush to make Big Tex appear as friendly on canvas as he does in real life.
“I want them to see a liveliness that’s there,” Hansen said. “He’s not a real person, but he has a personality that people assign to him, plus his voice and all that.
Eric has painted several recognizable North Texas landmarks for the last decade.
But about five years ago, he wandered out to Fair Park on the same day as Big Tex’s set up, just to observe.
“And when I got out there, there was like 100, or 200 people just hanging around and waiting for him. I had no idea it was like this. And I thought, ‘Well this is great, all these people who love this icon I paint.”
He showed up again in 2018. In 2020, he had the chance to paint Big Tex in a different way.
“They found a scratch on his hand. And the workers said, ‘Hey you have paint, you know what you’re doing. Can you touch up his hand for us?’ So that was kind of fun, just to have it done.”
Now, his Big Tex artwork is a tradition. You’ll notice he always uses the same 11 colors. It’s a staple in his work, as are bold figures.
“I like a good silhouette. Ideally, I like my subject of my paintings to be recognized just by the silhouette.”
But most of all, “I like being known as someone who Paints things that are familiar to people. Things that people have an emotional attachment to. People have a lot of pride, living here in North Texas. I like helping them display that pride . I love being a part of that.”
This year, Hansen is being recognized as the first official Big Tex portrait painter of the State Fair of Texas.
It means this year, the state fair of Texas will own his painting.
Each year, the State Fair will choose a different artist to paint big Tex.
The plan is to create an art gallery of all the paintings for the public to enjoy.
You can find more of Eric’s artwork on his website.