Knoxville artist Hank Jessup plans to unveil his latest creation on Market Square next weekend. He was reluctant to speak to reporters about it, but after $45 worth of drinks at Macleod’s, he spoke freely to Knoxpatch.com for about three hours.
“Honestly, it was inspired by something, but I can’t remember at the moment,” slurred Jessup. “Something about a movie with Christian Slater and Minnie Driver…”
After considering for a moment we should hire a cab to take him home when the bar closed, we talked Jessup into letting us take a peek under the tarp. What we found was a beautiful, glistening 1989 Wells Fargo armored truck that had been artfully bronzed. “See, I took the wheels off so it looks like it’s sunk into water, represented by the sidewalk,” mused Jessup.
Over a six-month period, Jessup painstakingly disassembled the entire truck, removing parts that would leak oil and installing those in his 1967 Ford pickup. The rest of the pieces, especially the exterior ones, he bronzed using a bronzing kit he ordered from a Sharper Image catalog.
He continued, “Some of the pieces were too big for my bronzing kit, so I had to send those off to one of those places, you know, the ones that bronze baby shoes.” The name of the company was not fresh on his mind, but that information will be in the formal press release, available at the unveiling.
“And the bad thing about it,” recollected Jessup, “was that I didn’t find a DAMN cent on that truck! Nothing, not even a penny, had gotten lost under the floorboards. I did find a nice collection of pens under the front seat though.”
Jessup is known around the art circles of Knoxville as being the creator of many fine works, including “Bronze Ferret,” which was used in last year’s Ferrets in the City celebration, and can be seen on display at the McClung Museum on the University of Tennessee campus.