Saturday, March 10, 2012

A World Of Imagination Left Behind

I couldn't remember where the place was - I knew it was a few blocks off a familiar busy intersection, just down the street from one of my favorite coffee joints. I came across it by accident once, and over the years have taken the sidestreets through the neighborhood just to see it again and smile. Today I wanted to show Ed.

I knew I was close when I started seeing sculptures in the round-a-bouts. They must have been fairly new, or maybe it had been a long time since I'd been there. Either way, when I came across this one, I knew I was close.
I stopped on a side street to ask a neighbor where the house with the metal sculptures was. She pointed and said, "Two blocks down, on the left." As I got closer, I saw the familiar cluster of characters. As we drove up, the metal yard warrior was the first thing I saw. Her "clothing" is made of rusty metal, detailed with fringe. She's got crazy pipe hair and a small circular breastplate that looks as if it's made from a gear of some sort.

Just in front of the house are these extremely tall - at least eight feet from head to toe - sculptures made from shiny chrome bumpers. They stare down at you, but in a friendly manner.
The sculpture that collects the mail looks like a giant beetle. Draped in Christmas lights, with springs for hair, a motorcycle muffler nose and car frames for legs and arms - the left one reaching out, collecting mail in a turquoise box.

This is one of my favorites - the propane tank caterpillar. He's got two bent springs and casters for antennae.

Right next to the caterpillar is this bench, made of chrome bumpers. Ed loved it. Although, we decided it would be a bitch to sit on in the summer. Perhaps some asbestos cushions to make it more comfortable?

Around the side of the house we found this metal gate. You can see the last name of the artist, Hall, at the top of the gate. It's backwards from the road, but I guess from the inside of the property, it reads as it should. Look at the detail!

This is another favorite - a man made of #10 cans, with a propane tank head and a hubcap "apron". Or maybe it's a codpiece?

I never knew the name of the artist who created these sculptures. It was pre-Google when I first discovered them, and in subsequent years, I guess it just didn't occur to me too look him up. I'd never seen him, or anyone else, on the property any of the times I'd driven by.

Today I learned his name - information that came on the wings of a butterfly, providing me with basic facts - the length of his life. Unfortunately, I'll never get to see him now because he
died in October 2010. This date marker is placed in one of the round-a-bouts in his neighborhood, not far from the house.

Once I knew his name, I did some Googling. I don't recall ever seeing anything about him, but I've been in and out of town for years and it's possible I missed whatever was written. The first article I found was this one, published in the local paper after his death. And then I came across a website maintained by Wesley Treat, who took some great detail photos. You can see them here.

If you're in the area, just off Grant & Campbell in Tucson, detour into the adjacent neighborhood and make your way to the corner of Water Street and Highland Avenue. The menagerie takes up the entire corner and the house is purple - you can't miss it.

And if you really like it, it's for sale. Save your pennies!

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