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Tony De Luz: Exploring the Journey Through Old Signs, Rusty Cars, and Fresh Paintings

February 15th, 2024

Tony De Luz, That'll Buff Right Out, Acrylic on canvas, 24"h x 29.75"w

In a culture often enamored with the charm of modernity, weathered signs and aged cars are commonly viewed as disruptions to the landscape.  However, artist Tony De Luz, with his thoughtful approach, transforms these discarded artifacts into objects of beauty, nostalgia, and subtle social commentary. 

His new exhibition, titled "Exploring the Journey Through Old Signs, Rusty Cars, and Fresh Paintings," is set to open at Blue Rain Gallery on February 16. This collection reflects his passion for the open road and an appreciation for the seemingly mundane details of human involvement, presented in paintings that seamlessly blend realism with metaphor.

Tony De Luz, Straight Outta Grants II, Acrylic on canvas board, 19.5"h x 15.5"w

Having worked as an illustrator and graphic designer for decades, De Luz, a Boston native, transitioned to painting, driven by his enduring love for the Southwest. His childhood road trip to California left a lasting impression, exposing him to the captivating expanses of the desert, intriguing flora and fauna, defunct movie theaters, old motorcycles, abandoned cars, and neon signs. 

Tony De Luz, End of the Road (Edsel), Gouache on watercolor paper, 13.75 x 25.25"w

De Luz's gouache and acrylic paintings are meticulously rendered, capturing the warmth of the Southwestern palette, and infusing inanimate objects with the magical high-desert glow, creating hyper-realistic works that can be mistaken for photographs. 

Tony De Luz, Frolic Room (left), El Cholo (right)

While his paintings exude photographic qualities, they transcend mere representations. Implicit narratives are woven into the scenes, inviting viewers to imagine the stories behind the subject matter and perceive the passage of time. Echoing the era of Route 66 and the newfound joy of the open road, De Luz's work not only records the optimism and adventurous spirit of those times but also chronicles their emergence as defining aspects of American culture.

Tony De Luz, Ramble On, Acrylic on canvas board, 13.5"h x 10.5"w

Influenced by artists like Norman Rockwell, Edward Hopper, and Richard Estes, De Luz emphasizes how the photorealism in their work elevates the subject matter. He utilizes his camera to capture references for his paintings, employing them as notes during his creative process.

De Luz's artistic exploration extends beyond the Southwestern landscape. "I paint what I see when I travel," he explains, expressing an attraction to rural areas for their intriguing juxtapositions of the ancient and the modern. "I enjoy the whole process so much—finding the subjects, working through the various stages of a painting. Being an artist means being interesting, helping people see ordinary things in a new way."

Tony De Luz, Some Kind of Sign, Acrylic on canvas, 30"h x 40"w,

The exhibition featuring Tony De Luz's work will be on display at Blue Rain Gallery until March 1, 2024.

See all available work here.


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