Walking on 5th street south of University, you ponder the mix and meeting of old homes and old industrial. And then you glimpse a brightly painted rowboat leaned against a house. Not usual, but not necessarily quirky.
The sign next to it says what? Here is the tip-off. Something is going on here.
Well. I hear Herb Albert and the Tijuana Brass playing “Lonely Bull.” Funny, but there wasn’t a Mexican in the band. Alpert described them as “three pastramis, two bagels, and an American cheese.” I actually did hear Herb Albert and the Tijuana Brass, probably in 1964, probably at the Latin Casino in Cherry Hill, New Jersey.
But now I mean figuratively. To the right of the driveway:
So now I hear the Wagner tune – figuratively. And immediately hear Elmer Fudd’s “Kill the Wabbit.” Earth to Tom – come back!
The Bullfighting Academy sign and concept are from a past “How Berkeley Can You Be” parade. The “Valkyries do Samba” sign and concept are from a Brazilian Carnival in San Francisco, Wagner set to a samba beat.
Both are from the mind and workshop of Stan Huncilman, a sculptor who for 35+ years has watched his westside neighborhood evolve from manufacturing and industrial to something else. He has graced the neighborhood with his sculptures and whimsy and, dare I say, alternate reality.
His website is super. This piece in his front yard is representative of his art:
And check out the intricate stair railing.
Let’s go upstairs. And knock on the door. And hear Motor the dog barking. And go inside.
Quirky Berkeley’s only absolute rule is that that which is shown here must be visible from the street, path, or alley. Which would rule out completely going inside. Or into back yards.
1) I have written a Berkeleyside post on Stan Huncilman.
2) Berkeleyside doesn’t have that absolute Quirky Berkeley rule about visibility.
3) There is a limit on the number of photos I can include in a Berkeleyside post.
4) The Berkeleyside post sends readers here to see more photos.
5) THUS: we may go inside, and ultimately into the back yard and Stan’s shop. As simple as that.
His living room is filled with his smaller sculptures:
Next stop – the kitchen. More sculpture. Lots more.
Form the kitchen we step out onto a small deck and then go downstairs to the back yard. Once again – incredible railing designed and fabricated by Stan.
Motor the Wonder Dog! A very good dog.
And now the backyard. What a world! Fruit trees and kale and asparagus and winding paths and exotic trees. And more Huncilman sculpture
Also in the backyard are a number of cement sculptures. Huncilman explains that “The Cement heads evolved from building Chinese New Year parade sculptures. They are a metal armatures covered with cement.” Huncilman’s sculptures are generally open; these represent an experiment with mass.
Huncilman’s workshop is reached from the back of the house. Here he plans and fabricates his work. The plans:
And work in progress.
And his motorized shopping cart.
Yes You read that correctly. A motorized shopping cart.
Several years ago, Stan made what I find to be one the funniest short videos ever made, about his quest for the land speed record in a shopping cart. Must be seen to be understood. Very funny. It makes me wheeze laughing.
And there she is, in his workshop. A reminder of glorious effort on the Playa, 1/4 mile in 29 seconds!
Stan Huncilman is animated and passionate talking about anything, but especially his art.
He has a Very dry wit. He embraces the absurd. Irony is his friend. I am tempted to use the word “Dada” but I don’t fully understand what that would mean so won’t.
Huncilman is not just a sculptor. He has written several Very Whimsical children’s books:
Stan Huncilman is a Quirky Berkeley genius. Even my friend was almost without words when he saw these photographs and the videos. Then he found words: