Controversial artist unveils new statues outside Tucson apartmen - Tucson News Now

Controversial artist unveils new statues outside Tucson apartment complex

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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

A controversial Tempe artist has unveiled his newest creations in Tucson.

And he's done this without approval from the city's zoning board or design review commission that oversees building renovations.

You can see it driving down Fort Lowell Road, mounted on top of a stack of tires. The reaction Monday was surprise, and maybe some confusion.

"I would say not in my strike zone.  No," said nearby resident Stuart Wolff when asked if he liked the artwork.

"[It's] very interesting.  Some would describe it as art," said Tucson resident Kimberly Gallant.

It is two side by side sculptures.

"Naked ladies with blender coming out of the chest?  Interesting.. Different," Gallant said.

"[It's] a couple of very well-endowed ladies," Wolff said. "Two sets of twins up there.  Incorporating appliances. Nothing makes any sense."

"Uhh.. Women coming out of a stack of tires with toasters on her head and a baby on top.  What does that mean?  I have no clue," said Tucson resident Leah Vanarooy.

The artist Bill Tonneson gives us his vision: It's simple, the theme is domesticity, fitting for an apartment complex.

(BILL TONNESON/TEMPE ARTIST/LANDSCAPER)

"You notice all the implements, the appliances, frying pan, figurines, egg beater," Tonneson said.

We asked about the nudity? 

"What nudity?" he said. "Oh, the breasts.  Isn't that part of domesticity?"

Tonneson has made headlines in Phoenix and Tempe for his creations. A sculpture of an obese naked woman in Tempe caused quite a stir. And many found one of a naked woman holding a urinal to be distasteful. 

But his biggest critic?

"My wife really doesn't want anything to do with it.  It's the toughest part of it."

But he also has many fans; people willing to pay big bucks for his art.

"I'm going to say in the $80,000 range."

This one already has a few fans.

"[The statues are] pretty cool," said resident Kelly Peters.

We asked, "What are they? What do you like about them?"

"The boobs."

The city's design review board has to approve such renovations, but the artist said he by-passed the city and put these up, hoping to ask for forgiveness rather than permission.

City officials say it's on private property, so they don't have an issue with it. At this time, we were unable to get ahold of the design review board for a comment.

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