Artist Tyler Hoare’s famed Red Baron “flew” again at the Emeryville Marina last Saturday May 6th. An estimated crowd of thirty or so fans gathered to watch the tradition that last occurred in 2012. The installation was transported from The Compound Gallery where it had been on display, to Shorebird Park where it will live until the elements claim it. Sadly, The Red Baron will be without his Snoopy adversary as Hoare had to make a tough choice after last week’s unfortunate “incident”.
Tyler’s team included Compound owner Matt Reynoso and his friend Jason Kulp, Kevin Mathieu (known for creating the LEGOJeep) and longtime friends Jerry Silva & Pat Wallen. Silva, Wallen and Hoare have been friends for 42 years and their involvement goes back to the first generation of the Red Baron. The crew worked in tandem to assemble the pieces and then mount it to a pier piling while precariously balancing on a plank.
Hoare doesn’t expect the piece to remain in tact for very long as any bits of metal are generally stripped by recyclers and other parts removed as momentos. “If it lasts a week, that’s fine. If it lasts six months, that’s fine too.” Hoare mentioned that he spoke with current Emeryville Mayor Scott Donahue, also a notable artist, about fixing the pier that was damaged by fireworks back in 2015.
Hoare seemed appreciative of the turnout, but is from an era that didn’t seek accolades. Hoare’s generation of artists didn’t ask for permission, they didn’t present their work to selection committees and they didn’t fret over environmental considerations. “I like the mystery when something just ‘pops up’, and you see their expression as if ‘where the hell did that come?’ ”
The 77-year-old artist has already indicated he’ll get to work on the next iteration of the Red Baron, but because of the lack of pier pilings, the future of the Red Baron is a bit uncertain. At one time, there were at many as twenty pilings, now there is only one. Unless the city makes an effort to either build more posts or provide a permanent home for The Red Baron, a part of Emeryville history could be lost forever.
All Photos and Video: Cindy Warner
Some additional photos by photographer David Gould can be viewed on Flickr: