He eschews brushes in favor of unique tools, such as rotating platforms, trapeze-like pendulums and sometimes even nude dancers’ bodies to apply paint to canvas, relying on gravity’s effects. In an entirely homegrown technique, Schaub built a turntable from a repurposed bicycle chain to smoothly rotate his canvases. While they spin, he applies heavy pours of acrylic paint (to the tune of about 50 gallons a month) into custom-built wood and plexiglass trays, which he calls “cradles,” that swing from above.
Watching him work is mesmerizing as the paint takes unpredictable trajectories and spreads across the canvas — and splatters onto the floor and walls. “When I create, it’s so much about the moment,” Schaub says. “I never go back and add or edit. It’s about when I start, and when I stop, and in between that time frame the painting is alive.”
The results are vivid, multicolored arcs, swirls, splatters, and swooshes. They echo organic shapes and patterns found in nature in bright colors that convey energy, movement and sometimes, a bit of chaos. That’s just part of his process, he explains. “I don’t know what I’m going to make, I don't know how it will turn out,” he says. “It could turn out a failure or it could be beautiful.”
Art was an outlet for Schaub, who struggled with dyslexia as a kid. “My way of learning is very different,” he explains. “I could get to the same destination as most when I was growing up, but went about it another way, and for that I was singled out a bit.”
Unlike most people his age, the Toronto-raised Schaub didn’t grow up with smartphone in hand: “We didn’t have a TV,” he says. His mom, a teacher and librarian, had a passion for the arts. In her household, “it was against the rules to be bored” and Schaub and his sister entertained themselves by making up games and sketching.