Cenizo Journal Fall 2021 - Page 24

by Kleo Belay

by Kleo Belay

Painting by George Zupp . Currently showing in
The Spirit House tasting room in Marathon .
George Zupp in Redford . Photo by Jose Castro eorge Zupp ’ s serendipitous career as a working artist and painter began amongst the waterways and animal houses of San Marcos , gravitating to the remote Rio Grande border town of Redford TX and then finally settling into the village of Marathon .
Zupp early on had a knack for selling his artwork . The only student in his masters program regularly selling his work , he had one wall of his studio space dedicated to pieces he was auctioning on eBay .
With themes he says “ are like classical country or rock and roll songs ,” he claims his art is “ the exorcism of his toxic masculinity .” Oil paintings , ink sketches , sculptures , YouTube videos , and even letters he sells to regular collectors are part of Zupp ’ s repertoire .
Ultimately his greatest influences comes from the folk art genre , Texas regionalism of the 1930 ’ s and 40 ’ s and artists such as Francis Bacon and Everett Spruce . As a folk artist in search of folk , the Big Bend Region and specifically Redford and Marathon have provided ample subjects . Kelly Pruitt , Enrique Madrid , Simone Swan , Rachel Manera and
James Evans are just a few of the artists and intellectuals of the region that are a part of Chicken George ’ s story .
It started with a magazine article about Simone Swan ’ s adobe architecture that prompted a road trip to West Texas in search of studio space . Upon locating Ms . Swan , she promptly sent George and his painter friend Sergio to find Enrique Madrid in Redford Texas . George and Sergio had a duel to see who could last longer in the desert . George won .
George remained in large part because of Enrique Madrid and his mother ’ s old library . Lucia Madrid established a private lending library in 1976 in Redford after retiring from working as a schoolteacher for 25 years . Her library grew to hold over 15,000 books and served the greater community from both sides of the border . As a result of her service , she was inducted into the Texas Woman ’ s Hall of Fame and received the President ’ s Volunteer Service Award . In 1999 , George Zupp moved into the former library and spent the year living and painting in Redford .
Enrique Madrid grew up surrounded by books and learning . He left only briefly to further his education and serve in the military but spent most of his life on his family ’ s land in Redford . An avid reader and fierce intellectual , he and wife Ruby were always eager to offer evenings of food , hospitality , and blazing conversation to any curious friend or traveler . It was customary for the students involved in Outward Bound expeditions stationed out of

24 Cenizo Fall 2021