12" x 16"
Young Puzzlers / 48 bigger waterjet cut pieces
Simple Level / 192 waterjet cut pieces
Moderate Level / 266 waterjet cut pieces
Difficult Level / 494 waterjet cut pieces
3,582 waterjet cut pieces
Made in the USA
HOWDY, FOLKS. THIS IS BIG TEX, THE PUZZLE!
The Puzzled Co. was founded in Dallas - home of The State Fair of Texas. Since 1952, Big Tex has been the official greeter and icon of the State Fair, and is pretty much the world’s tallest cowboy. The sculptural, gentle giant has welcomed millions of fairgoers with "Howdy, folks, this is Big Tex" and a slight wave of his wonky mechanical hand. For generations, families and friends like ours have gathered around Big Tex to take memorable photos together (and eat corny dogs).
We're excited to partner with award-winning photographer, and fellow Dallasite, Warren Paul Harris, to design this special puzzle art edition featuring his photographic composite of the Texas legend. It's also our 1-year Puzzle-versary and a great time to celebrate the big come-back of The Puzzled Co. which was originally started in 1977, and revived again by our family in 2020.
FUN FACT! Big Tex wears size 70 boots and sports a 75-gallon hat.
Warren Paul Harris is a professional photographer, artist and published author living and working in Dallas, Texas (website).
Warren's first photographic trip to the State Fair was in 2011, to capture Big Tex and some other highlights to be included in a coffee table book Texas As I See It, published that year and later reprinted. The original photo of Big Tex used to create this featured image was taken during his next visit in 2017, and then edited into the final composite photograph featured on this puzzle. See the before and after pics following the artist's interview:
Warren, what are some of the challenges of photographing Big Tex?
Crowds: 70,000 strangers are an inconvenience on a good day and a disaster on a bad day. As a photographer, I can tell you a huge crowd of people in your way, and unrelated to your composition, contributes nothing of value.
Blue sky: a boring blue sky contributes nothing of value but…Blue. It adds no depth or detail. A Fine Art Photographer’s constant nemesis.
So, how did you get "the shot"?
In 2017, we decided to brave the crowds once more, immerse ourselves in the “experience” of the State Fair of Texas, and take some photos. The Texas Star ferris wheel is gorgeous at night. And, it looks pretty nice during the day, too. So, I made sure I had plenty of captures. Patience is required to be a good photographer, and it required a lot to capture Big Tex without adoring fans stomping all over the foliage. Eventually getting the break I needed, I got a nice assortment of shots of our star. I knew I would have to do a lot of compositing to make this into a truly exceptional representation, but I set aside some time and got to work the next day.
What was the editing process like?
The first thing I had to do was cut the Texas Star ferris wheel out of its background – a very time-consuming and painstaking operation, as there are so many fine detail components.
Then I had to find exactly the right sky to replace the boring blue backdrop. Having located what I wanted, I assigned each image to a separate layer along with the original image.
I then removed the original sky and other elements I did not want, processed each layer for color, detail and vibrance and started hand-assembling each piece into the final composition. This is the result of several hours of work.
The end result was exactly what I was looking for. Your mileage may vary.
Big Tex Composite
Photographic Composite Image
October 12, 2017, at 4:28 p.m. CST, Dallas, Texas
Captured with a Canon EOS 5D Mk III and Canon 24-70 wide angle zoom lens.
Focal length: 35mm
F stop: 6.3
©Warren Paul Harris