Off to See the Wizardry

What's 12 feet tall and shoots flames from its penis?

Wizardry: It's not. Not any more than a patio heater. I know what the fire codes are for building devices like this, so I can display it legally in my [Scottsdale] front yard. Before I ever fired him up, I took pictures to the fire department and explained everything to them. As long as I don't tie into the city gas service, the city can't ask me for any permits.

NT: What does Rural/Metro say about Trailer Trash Man?

Wizardry: They call him a home appliance. On Halloween, I fired it up and roasted hot dogs and marshmallows off the flaming dick, and I got all sorts of great comments. Thanksgiving, I fired it up and the neighbors called the police on me. They want me arrested because they think it's obscene.

Richard Wizardry with his marshmallow-roasting Trailer Trash Man.
Emily Piraino
Richard Wizardry with his marshmallow-roasting Trailer Trash Man.

NT: Everyone's a critic.

Wizardry: To me, it's just abstract art. You can go to Italy, and would anyone ask you to cover up Michelangelo's David? You have naked statues all over Europe. If Trailer Trash Man were a figure of a woman, people would find it acceptable. You do a man and, well, society is so prudish. My neighbors were objecting to the genitalia. And the flames that shot out of them were scaring them.

NT: Were the cops scared of his flame-throwing wiener?

Wizardry: The police came over and I had to give them a demonstration. I showed them everything he can do, and they said I'm pushing the limits. They lose their sense of humor at the police academy, I think. Toward the end they had a hard time keeping a straight face, though. They didn't tell me I have to take it down, so I think I'm okay.

NT: Can I rent Trailer Trash Man for parties?

Wizardry: Well, I'm actually planning the Trailer Trash Man Diner and Dinner Show. Here's how it will work: I've got all these bread pans, and I'm going to weld them into the shape of a man and a woman. Now, everyone comes to the party and brings a pound of their favorite bread dough. Then we bake bread.

NT: That does sound fun.

Wizardry: It's interactive art! While the bread is cooling, you can cook the rest of the meal. Now, isn't that a different way of catering that no one's ever done before?

NT: I'm certain of it! So, your art can make me dinner and give me a show. In my collection, I have only paintings that hang on the wall and look pretty.

Wizardry: Eventually, I want to do a full show with fire dancers and drummers, and we can call it the Trailer Trash Cult Show. Fire's the most primordial instinct of man, and that's the thing with Trailer Trash Man: He appeals to every human sense: sight, sound, smell, feeling, emotions. They're all there in this sculpture.

NT: Do you do custom work? If I want a 12-foot-tall metallic fire-breathing woman on my front lawn, can I get one?

Wizardry: Uh-huh. I have enough material to make maybe six to 15 different creatures. I've figured out a way to recycle every part of these junction boxes into art.

NT: Does the city have any trouble with this?

Wizardry: It's art. It's my First Amendment right of expression. No one from the city has come to my house or said anything to me yet. I'm allowed to build a fire-breathing sculpture that's up to 30 feet tall and the fire department can't say a thing to me.

NT: But your neighbors continue to.

Wizardry: Even without the genitalia, people do double takes when they walk down the street. A lot of people think I'm a genius. One guy from the fire department said, "What are you, some kind of Dali?" So if I can get responses like that, and other people think it's obscene, then I must be doing a pretty damn good job.


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