HOARE, Tyler James (USA)

MAIL, etc., FLUX (art) WORLD exhibition


Flying saucer comes in for a landing
By Dave Greer

Did you think you saw a flying saucer hovering low over the bay just south of the Berkeley Marina recently?

You probably didn't tell anybody fearing the odd look and suggestion you lighten up on adult beverages - particularly when driving on I-80.

But after reading this story you can come right out with it. Yes, you really saw a nifty little space ship with glowing lights around the edges, a clear bubble cockpit, and a pilot complete with red eyes and two horns on his head.

This particular UFO did not come from another planet, a secret government testing lab, or a civilization under the sea. It was conceived by master sculptor and illusionist Tyler James Hoare (pronounced “oat”) and built in the garage of his Berkeley home.

The space ship marks the 20th anniversary of the installation of the first of many of Hoare's carefully contrived creations which have delighted and charmed Bay Area residents and visitors alike.

Most of Hoare's works have been airplanes inspired by, but not models of, World War I era aircraft. His best known were several versions of the red Fokker flown by Manfred Von Richtofen - the legendary Red Baron -and made famous locally in the Peanuts comic strip.

Hoare and his friends set the last of these planes on the usual slanting old piling in December 1992, and here it stayed until energetic thieves removed it recently. Vandals and the elements have taken a regular toll of the artist's works, a fact which he accepts philosophically.

“Once I put a piece out, it no longer belongs to me but to the public,” he says In addition to the dozen planes which Hoare has set out near the Berkeley Marina and on posts off Charley Browns restaurant in Emeryville. Hoare has enlivened the bay with floating illusions as well.

These ambitious works ran up to 18-feet in length and included King Tut's Ship of the Nile, a Viking long boat, a pirate ship, a Chinese junk, what appeared to be a 56-foot submarine, and a sinister shark. But the Bay's tides, winds and waves defeated the artist's best efforts to keep them afloat very long.

The 7-foot flying saucer is just half the size of its aicplaue predecessoss, but like them is constructed of painted cloth over a wood frame. Hoare also uses a wide range of junk in his creations. This includes everything from old Clorox bottles and umbrellas to the worn boots on the pilot's legs which dangle below the planes and have become his trade mark.

Aside from the UFO visible from Frontage Road and I-80, Hoare has erected “Martians” on posts visible from Charley Brown's parking lot in Emeryville. The artist has been putting out fanciful “post people,” also made from discarded objects for many years at this location.

Hoare holds degrees in art and is a professional sculptor who has exhibited and taught widely. How ever, he makes his living primarily by designing restaurant interiors and fabricating restaurant equipment in his Albany studio.

Hoare says that new UFO does not mean an end to the long line of planes and ships which have loomed up out of the bay fog as from a time warp.

“I probably would have built another plane if my daughter, Janet, hadn't given me an old jewelry display case I used for the cockpit cover,” Hoare says. “The UFO just seems appropriate for a twentieth anniversary; and for the upcoming twenty-first century. There will be more planes.”

And so the adventure continues for those who look to the bay and let their imaginations merge with the artist's in the creation of these fleeting and wondrous experiences.