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Coco Hall

Tell us about where you are from and how you ended up here in the desert? 


The first time I backpacked in the desert, at Big Bend in Texas, I fell in love with it. It took me twenty years to get here, living in Vermont and then briefly in the Bay Area. I love living in the Mojave every day.  Sunny and dry.


You make primarily sculpture, can you talk about the materials you use, about your process and how you came to this method of working? 


I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t working on a project. My sister and I were always making things, for example a scaled down tiny Clue game for our dolls. I began sewing when I was about seven, making clothes for my dolls with a miniature sewing machine. I continued, sewing some awful clothes as a teenager. Awful because I never had the patience to follow the directions. (It’s the same with cooking.) I also taught myself to knit during high school. In college I worked briefly at American Greetings where I taught myself how to sew 3D funny pillows as a special project. Back at school, I started making stuffed sculpture out of curtains from antique stores. I did some papier mache too but my teachers blew it off as an unworthy material and told me to take ceramics which is how I picked that up.  


I use all these materials plus painting, combining them as much as possible. I work in the studio almost every day. Coming up with ideas for new work is a constant while walking, driving, reading, sitting with my sketch book, whatever or wherever, it all goes into the whirlpool.  I like working on several projects at the same time.



Much of your work deals with the body, humor, disease and politics (just to mention a few things) can you tell us more about the basis of the work? 


I believe my job as an artist is to reflect what I see so I gather images from our culture and ideas from the isms that concern me such as feminism, consumerism, environmentalism, etc. The main current is the wonderful/horrible of our world and I like showing this with humor because humor opens the mind and can therefore function in the way Leonard Cohen was talking about when he wrote, “There is a crack in everything, That's how the light gets in.” 



Who are your influences? Can be from anything

If I had to categorize what genre of artist I am I would say a feminist pop surrealist. Some of the artists I love are Manet, Brancusi, Magritte, Meret Oppenheim, David Park, Man Ray, Margaret Bourke-White, Lee Miller, Louise Bourgeois….there are too many to name. Modern architecture, mundane stuff like cigarettes and cheetos, trends both cultural and political. I was an environmental and animal rights activist for 20 years so there is that. I like to read about ancient history, especially Roman history, about epidemics, quantum mechanics (about time in particular), other science, a lot of novels, poetry. It all seeps in.


What are some exciting things you are excited about in this community out here? 

One of the aspects I love most about the desert is the dryness, that your towel is never damp and a coat of papier mache dries overnight. I sleep outside about half the year under the stars…no dew!  Another is the spectacular vista and just being able to step outside in my socks year round. I love the desert rattiness of Joshua Tree with so many interesting people, so many artists. 

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