Somewhere between the cacophony of Memphis’ Beale Street and Nashville’s Music Row lies the quiet town of Brownsville, Tennessee. And among the hair salons and cemeteries of Brownsville – not far from the Tina Turner museum – is a colossal piece of artwork that you might pass by without a second thought.
The sculpture is hiding in plain sight as what looks like typical urban infrastructure, in the form of a huge water tower next to a forest of electrical towers. But when you get closer, you realize there’s poetry embedded in the tangle of steel and aluminum… plus hidden objects like a canoe, massive industrial augers, and ceramic cherubs.
WHAT I HAVE
BE IT THROUGH
WHAT I HAVE
BE IT FROM
WHAT IS HERE
The sculpture – an acre large and over 10 stories tall – is the life’s work of artist Billy Tripp. He started the project in 1989, and over time, it has come to represent significant moments in his life. The painted water tower was dedicated after the death of his parents. Tripp has said he intends to be interred within the sculpture.
We didn’t set out to visit Mindfield during our drive. When we stopped to get gas at some point past Memphis, Braden started looking up the area on his phone, and saw that this was rated as “Major Fun” by RoadsideAmerica.com. Without a doubt, a classic “pull over here” moment that was very much worth the detour.