My dad, Tom Neyman, who played the part of The Master in "Manos the Hands of Fate" is an artist of many mediums. In El Paso, we lived in an adobe house with walls over one foot thick that was built in 1887. We know that for sure because when my parents bought the house they were told that the builders had placed a silver dollar somewhere in the walls or floor that had the year the house was constructed. During one of our endless remodeling projects, that coin was found in a wall in a closet. The house was at the top of a hill, tucked up tight at the base of Mount Franklin and just below Scenic drive where the hapless Micheal, Maggie, Debbie family begins their journey to Valley Lodge. It was just three miles from Juarez Mexico and we could see the Rio Grande river from our front porch. The family that lived in the house in the early days were able to watch and hear the battle across the border in March 1911 where the decisive victory of the Mexican Revolution with the capture of Ciudad Juarez occured.
In our back yard was the only big tree in our neighborhood, a patio arbor and a small rock house where my dad had his art studio. When he was home he was either making changes to the house or working in the studio. I loved hanging out, poking around his supplies or simply sitting on a stool watching while being bathed in music like the theme song to Zorba The Greek. He painted, sculpted, welded and carved. We would sometimes drive out into the desert searching for things he could include in his work or in the house projects. Weathered wood from a dilapitated shack, railroad ties and nails, or anything that might catch his eye. We used an old electricians truck, named Tobbacca Roada from the 40's for our scavanging adventures. Eventually, in a burst of creativity, Tobbacca Roada succumbed to the welders torch to be incorporated into art.
One time, my mom and I came home from shopping and she went to hang the laundry on the line only to discover my dad had cut down the poles holding the line because he needed more metal for a piece ASAP.
My dad was my idol and I observed him closely. My current creative life certainly underscores that. I am much like him in that regard and you can see just a fraction of what I do on my website www.jackeyraye.com. I remember him making the hand sculptures in Manos. I watched while he painted The Master's painting and I recall him figuring out and building Torgo's leg braces. I remember the sketches he did for the Masters robe and the laying out and cutting of the fabric. My mother was a very gifted seamstress and gladly worked with him to design and construct the robe. Those were happy times in my childhood and I think I remember them so well and so fondly because life changed so drastically just a few years later. The one constant in life is change, and I for one prefer to focus on the good experiences. I am so blessed that some of the best ones of my youth are immortalized in the famously bad Manos, The Hands of Fate. As I often say, "If you can't be the best, make the most of being part of the worst". Thank you all for making that happen. I appreciate you all so very much.