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T Q&A

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Jerry Hall has a yard full of creations. At the corner of Water Street and Highland Avenue--two blocks north and one block east of Grant Road and Mountain Avenue--is a display of happy metal people, animals made of car parts and other items of curiosity. Hall has been creating sculptures for more than two decades, using such items as thick mining cables, car bumpers and woks. Yes, woks. If you think his front yard is impressive, you should see his back yard, which includes a rock waterfall and a small guest house made entirely of tin cans. He also is generous, most recently donating pieces of his work to the Tucson Botanical Gardens. Some intersections in the Samos Neighborhood feature his art in the middle of their traffic circles. "I figure if you've got imagination, you can do lots with it," he said. When not holed up in his workshop or lounging in his backyard, Hall likes to be out in what could be called a grand-scale treehouse--built completely by him--enjoying the view. If you get in touch with him politely, he may let you tour his property, which he has named Hall's World of Imagination. Much of his work in the front yard is viewable from the street. Someday, he hopes to have his house be a museum for people to enjoy, but in the meantime, he is still enjoying creating.

What got you started doing this?

I guess I wanted to make people happy--you know how the world is, all sad and gloomy, so I wanted to make something. ... When you look at it, you've got a smile on your face.

Is it more of a hobby, or is it something more?

I would probably say in between--I would say it's a little more ... I use it as relaxation and peace of mind.

Do you get your materials for art mostly by donations or otherwise?

Most of my stuff is recycled, and I found a guy who sells old car bumpers.

Tell me about your business.

Oh, I'm in landscaping--then I've been doing this art stuff probably 20 or 30 years.

You donate your artwork sometimes.

Oh yeah, silent auctions. I do at least probably five a year for donations--I give 'em to them so they can make money for their own places.

Do you get a lot of people who gawk?

Most of the time in the wintertime.

So when you're creating, you call it "play"?

"Play," yes, playin'. ... I like to play a lot.

You did all the yardwork, too?

Oh yeah--this yard was just like everybody else's--plain dirt when I first bought it.

Is there anywhere that somebody could get to see your pieces right now?

Yeah--they're going on now in Tohono Chul Park. Harlow's Nursery has some over there.

Do you find a lot of people who come by, do they call it "mind-blowing"?

Some people call it "overwhelming"; some people say it's awesome. Some people say it's wonderful. Some people say, "What imagination." Some people laugh and smile; some people just laugh. See, I found many years ago, when you find what you really can do with this art stuff, you really don't have to prove to anybody else--you already proved to yourself you're better than what's out there, y'know?

Do you see a lot of artists oriented towards money, or do you see them more oriented toward enjoyment in creating art?

I think they start out as creative and enjoying the art, but what happens is the money part takes over the other part. (...) A true artist is, you don't worry, because you like doing it, and you don't think of the money to pay your bills or how you're going to live off it.

Out of your pieces, which one is your favorite?

Probably the guy riding the bicycle--actually, all of them are my favorites.

If there's anything you'd want people to know, what would you want them to know?

I would tell 'em, use your imagination--don't be scared of what other people think. Do what you like to do the most.

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