Monday, August 16, 2010

Tinkertown Museum in New Mexico

When I find out about an environment-building artist who sounds interesting, I try to learn just enough to know if the work is worth a trip, but not so much that it spoils the getting-to-know-you moment. So when I read about the Tinkertown Museum, just outside of Albuquerque, I didn't look into it any more than I had to.

There were lots of surprises.

The shady parking area set the tone of whimsy.

I always love a bottle wall.

Entering the museum, I saw this little piece among the bottles.

The museum is the work of Ross Ward, who got interested in making Western tableaus when he was 9. By 22, he had started the works and collections that became Tinkertown. He was fond of saying, "I did all this while you were watching T.V."

The works combine hand-carving with found objects and miniatures.

Ward's "day job" was doing lettering, which is apparent throughout his work.

He also made his living creating large-scale circus and carnival paintings, such as fun house fronts. I imagine this miniature version gives an idea of what his larger works were like.

I loved this wagon full of carved figurines.

Throughout the museum, there are hand-painted signs with quotes Ward found inspirational.

I particularly liked this list of ways to keep creativity alive in one's life.

Ross Ward developed Alzheimer's Disease in 1998 at the age of 58. As he grew sicker and could no longer drive, his wife, Carla, distracted him from that loss by urging him to paint his Jeep as an art car. It worked. But the disease continued to take its toll.

Ward died in 2002. One of his favorite quotes was "I love you, honey, but the season's over," made permanent on this memorial sign. His wife and long-time staff now operate the museum.

1 comment:

Marsha Qualey said...

I'm not taking a vacation this summer, so the road trip reports are heavenly (even the CAFO post).