Billy Tripp's Mindfield
The monumental steel structure in Brownsville, Tennessee is the still unfinished life's work of Billy Tripp.
In 1989, Billy Tripp began translating the conversations he had with himself in his head, his experiences, and stations in life into steel sculptures. A diary in metal. Tripp acquired his knowledge of construction, statics, and art largely self-taught. Now and then he enlists the help of experts, but so far, the metal giant complies with all safety regulations.
At 38 meters at its highest point, the Mindfield stands between a motel, a car wash and a barbershop and is tolerated there by residents (Tripp isn't sure, but he definitely has the mayor's backing) and visited and studied by road trippers and art enthusiasts.
Though the Mindfield may seem industrial, it's full of poetry. Steel spirals rise up like candles. Ornate signs with affirmations, filigree strictures, steel tubes and metal utilitarian objects sway in the wind, turning the structure into a gigantic sound sculpture.
There is, in addition to thoughts on life and death, love for his wife and "Mindfield Interpreter” Beth and his deceased parents, a tribute to his favorite author William Least Heat-Moon in the form of a canoe, in the Mindfield. The author crossed America in this canoe and recorded his experiences in the book River-Horse: Across America by Boat.
Tripp also wrote a book, The Mindfield Years: Volume 1. The autobiographical work runs 725 pages and is filled with the artist's thought processes. You may be able to decipher something here and there, but overall the book is like Tripp's sculpture – massive, personal and not quite of this world.
In addition to the steel structures, watchtowers, silos and scaffolding, the one that “stands out” the most is the brightly painted circular water tower, titled In Honor of: Turd and testifies to Tripp's respect, even for the lowliest, a “turd.”
Tripp, despite his imposing work, is modest and can usually be found in his workshop directly behind the Mindfield where he readily provides information and also grants permission to wander among the sculpture.
- Billy TrippsHomepage
- Billy Tripp's Mindfield, Brownsville, Tennessee Decoding The Mindfield - Trunkations Billy Tripp's Mindfield | Raw Vision Magazine
- Billy Tripp - Wikipedia