April 19, 2014 - 23:11
The Bucket Man had vision

Related Articles
Views: 1355
Print E-mail Gallery 1
Article Author: Ed Ditto

Danny Hoskinson’s art might have been blurry, but his vision was anything but.

I didn’t meet Hoskinson—“The Bucket Man”—until the night of Friday, July 11th, a few days after he’d passed on. My phone rang and my friend Kevin told me they were holding a memorial service for Hoskinson out behind the Hippie Chic on Highway 64, and I should come down.

There were over a hundred people there. Gentle folks with beards and long hair and body-piercings, many of them smiling and some weeping and others madly twirling hula hoops. Most of them drinking beer and all of them hugging one another.

And everywhere stood blurry plastic sculptures that looked like someone had burnt them out of a recycling bin, en masse, with a flamethrower.

I thought: If this is his memorial service, I wish I’d known the man.

If you didn’t know Hoskinson, you might still remember his art. For a couple of years his—what? Studio? Store? Cosmic landing beacon?—was a waypoint for a lot of us who wandered through Polk County. A sort of weird highway marker that said not, “Here Is Where The Fun Is,” but instead, “Fun Is Where The Here Is.”

In front of his studio, and all around it, was his work. Fantastic figures, human and otherwise, molten and stretched and charred from a medium as humble as I’m told Hoskinson was himself. Grotesque faces like your own reflection in a funhouse mirror. At the very least you couldn’t help slowing down for a closer look.

I guess I should have stopped and talked with him. As he wrote in his “Artist’s Statement”:

“When people see my art for the first time they ask, ‘How did you come up with this idea?’ Actually, my torched plastic has been in development since July 4th, 1987, when I was living in Atlanta. Some friends and I went to Lake Lanier for a picnic. Since my brain already had art on it, I took my lighter and began burning and shaping the plastic picnic utensils. I was fascinated by this medium, and experimented with it for about four years until my needs grew and I graduated to the plastic bucket.”

The single-mindedness he hints at in that paragraph is one that many people chase after and few actually catch. To have “art on the brain” and to spend four years welding plastic cutlery with a cigarette lighter before “graduating” to the plastic bucket—well, it hovers over the edge of craziness.

But there’s a narrow borderland on the edge of crazy, a place artists inhabit, and last Friday night at Hoskinson’s memorial service, I could see the proof of a man who felt right at home in that borderland.

I saw it most clearly in his friends. My God, how they loved him.

They’d set up a few rows of chairs behind the Hippie Chic, and I was sitting and watching a video of Hoskinson describing his methods when a guy with brown dreadlocks walked up to me.

“What’s up with Danny, man?” he asked.

“Um—you didn’t know?” I stammered.

“No, what happened? What is all this?” And he looked around at the people.

“I’m so sorry,” I said. “But I’m the wrong guy to be telling you. This is a memorial service for him. You need to find one of his friends and ask them what happened.”

He nodded vacantly and found somebody else, and later on I saw him stumbling around the party with tears in his eyes, devastated.

As I said then and I say now, I’m the wrong guy to be telling you about Danny Hoskinson. But there are good people here in Polk County who knew him well. They’re devastated too, and they’ll tell you why.

Or maybe Hoskinson still can. As he also wrote:

“I have hitchhiked from TN to CA five times before I was twenty years of age. I have lived in ten different states—twenty-two different places and I’ve always called East Tennessee my home.”


“I am challenged to create as I watch these “opportunities” come to life. When I am working, I like to think that I am teaching the plastic to be art and the plastic is teaching me to be an artist.”

Ultimately, though, you have to look at Hoskinson’s figures and try to hear his voice speaking through them.

If you believe God’s an artist, then it follows that we’re exactly what he made us to be. From base matter, surely, and with our fine points and our flaws, but his hand was always deliberate, never unsteady.

Hoskinson’s figures seem to tell us that, with their blurred forms and their big, sad, too-human eyes. We are as we were made, they say. And if you see us as ugly, it’s because you’re looking for ugliness. We’re reflecting your own mindset back at you.

It’s a beautiful idea. We need more people like Danny Hoskinson to remind us of it.

Untitled Document
Top News
North Potato Creek treatment moves to ..
The North Potato Creek Treatment Plant treats water contaminated with elevated concentrations of metals and acid. It began operation in 2005.
Commission seeks to protect privacy
Commission rejects Ducktown plan
Audit shows overspending in school sys..
Felony Murder charged
Scam suspects sought
May Primary ballot set
Roof plan sent to Fire Marshall
Parksville precinct to stay open
Standards mean accountability
Local News
Ducktown talks park, trails project
Copperhill lowers water rates
CSCC To Host Get Covered America/Affor..
Festival celebrates spring
Fire destroys Copperhill building
TVA requests electricity reduction
Beekeepers look to help others
Ducktown notes
Polk libraries receive donation
Hooker given community service award
School News
Benton Elementary Junior Beta Club rec..
Shown in the picture are the students who stayed and wrapped gifts after school.
Enriques on Dean’s List
Co-op experience leads to employment
Leadership team project raises $1900
Late score puts Boyd on top
PCHS wins STEM contest
Copper Basin Elemetary Honor Roll
Copper Basin Elementary Honor Roll
CMS Fuels Up to Play 60
PCHS 2013 Salutation
Mrs. Dana Renae Worley, age 50 of Farner, TN
Food for Thought
For this week’s installment of Food for Thought, we have some delicious-sounding ways to bring potatoes to the table brought to us courtesy of Ruth Ann Kersey.
Letter to the Editor
Food for Thought
Letters to the Editor
Remember When...
130 years of history
Letter to the Editor
Editorial opinion 6/19/2013
Letters to the Editor
Polk County Heritage
I’m My Own Grandpa!
Polk County Heritage
Sheep in the Meadow . . Cows in the Co..
Polk’s Septaquintaquinquecentennial ..
1913 photo of the Odd Fellows from Con..
Polk County Heritage - 10-23-2013
Polk County Heritage
Bill Baxter’s Polk Folks
Bill Baxter’s Polk Folks
Part 2: Sacred to Their Memory - The M..
Sacred to Their Memory: The McNairs
Local Events
Guided Spring hike Saturday
Tennessee State Parks will offer free, guided hikes on March 22. At Hiwassee / Ocoee State Park, Join Ranger Angelo for an easy 3 mile hike along the beautiful Hiwassee river.
Bulletin Board 3-19-14
Benefit singing March 8
Bulletin Board - 2/26/14
Ft. Loudoun explores Euro-Indian trade
Retirement event
Holocaust Survivor Ester Bauer Back to..
Grape Escape Saturday
Griefshare seminar Nov. 2
A Gem of a show starts Friday
Local Sports
Polk loses ‘Cat fight
Size and speed were important factors in each of the games and three point shooting played an important part
Two ‘Cats named All State
Polk County High School Powder Puff Fo..
Zach Miller and Tanner Plemmons were n..
Polk splits in Battle of States
Copper Basin 2013-2014 Homecoming Court
Juniors lose
Crickets season at 7-2
Lady Cats season ends
Runners in Regions
Friends & Neighbors
Whitmire retires
Whitmire will be honored with a retirement reception on Friday, March 28th from 11 am – 3:00 pm at the 219 Ward Street First Volunteer Office in Benton.
TN Wesleyan honors
Ocoee Region Beekeeper's Association F..
2013 Miss Christmas Belle
Fairest attends convention
Zion Baptist awarded second place for ..
1980-81 Miss Christmas Belle Photo
Burger and Stevens Engaged
Twin sisters arrive
Brock Celebrates Birthday
Nature & Environment
Homeplace daffodils
Sometimes the prettiest daffodils are not in modern home flowerbeds, but are found in the overgrown yard of an old.. » FULL STORY
Spring is coming
Spring crocus
Red-bellied woodpecker
Frost flower
Frozen circles
Bald cypress
Fall colors hit peak
Change of season
Beauty Berry
Recreation & Visitor Information
Kids Fishing Days slated
The first event, hosted by the Forest Service, TWRA, and Trout Unlimited, will be held at Spring Creek on Saturday, April 26th from 7:00 am till 11:00 am.
Changes made at Tumbling Creek
Rail trips start April 5
Turkey shoot
Ocoee River most popular in nation
Recreation season beginning
Watch for flash flooding
Indian Boundary Overflow closed May 7-9
Kid's Fishing Days slated
Advance reservations accepted at Gee C..
Outdoor Sporting
Hog season changes urged
Wildlife Committee members from Polk and surrounding counties met with local lawmakers, wildlife commissioners, and TWRA last Tuesday to discuss the need to revisit hog hunting regulations in Tennessee.
Greasy Creek could close on stocking day
Big bass brought by
Tellico River fishing day slated
Coon hunting to continue
Opposition voiced to coon hunt change
Wild hog regulations change
Record bear harvest in 2011
Comment deadline Feb. 24
Hunter Safety classes available
Classifieds - 4/16/14
Classifieds - 4/9/14
Classifieds - 4/2/14
Classifieds - 3/26/14
Classifieds 3/19/14
Classifieds - 3/12/14
Classifieds - 3/5/14
Classifieds - 2/26/14
Classifieds - 2/19/14
Classifieds - 2/12/14
Public Notices
Public Notices 4-16-14
Public Notices - 4/9/14
Public Notices - 4/2/14
Public Notices - 3/26/14
Public Notices - 3/19/14
Public Notices - 3/12/14
Public Notices - 3/5/14
Public Notices - 2/26/14
Public Notices - 2/19/14
Public Notices - 2/12/14

Untitled Document

Polk County News | P.O. Box 129 | 3 Main Street | Benton TN 37307
phone: 423-338-2818 | fax: 423-338-4574 | email

web site development Lisa Affordable Web Sites