How R-Park Troll artist Thomas Dambo sought inspiration from Jackson Hole

JACKSON, Wyo. — During his stay with Outpost, environmental artist Thomas Dambo sought creative inspiration from the Jackson landscape and the local community to complete the installation of his Giant Troll sculpture named “Mama Mimi” in Rendezvous Park (R-Park).

From May 14- 30, Dambo and his team were housed in an Outpost condo located in Teton Village. After long days of strenuous work, it was the ideal place for the artist and his crew to unwind.

“The artist’s hours were almost 8 a.m.- 6 p.m. on a daily basis,” said JH Public Art Director, Carrie Geraci. “They worked really hard on site, the weather was mostly nice, and I know by the end of the day they usually just wanted to drink some cold beer and mellow out.”

Dambo and his crew were free to make their own itinerary throughout their time here out of a respect for his space and the amount of time he was investing into the project.

“After they were done working they could do whatever they wanted. Knowing it was physically demanding work we did not over-plan an itinerary for him,” Geraci said.

In his downtime, Dambo paid visits to Jackson staples like The Wort and The Million Dollar Cowboy Bar. In doing so, Dambo got a fresh taste of the local Jackson flavor. One night in particular, the artist and his crew had an interest in going bowling in town.

“When they got there, there was a wedding party so wedding revelers invited them to join and celebrate with them!” Geraci said.

With the support of several restaurants in town, Dambo was also able to sample the diverse cuisine in the valley from Pearl Street Market and Calico to Teton Thai and Pica’s.

Dambo’s authentic local experience didn’t end there. He attended the first rodeo of the season and even floated down the Snake River, seeing Jackson from an entirely new perspective.

Dambo’s trip was action-packed. Alongside his two crew members and three local carpenters, the artist relished in his first Jackson experience in good company.

Not only did the artist indulge in local activities, but also had the opportunity to spend time with young community members.

“While they were really busy, Thomas also had one afternoon where the students from Red Top Meadows came and helped build with him. They helped disassemble a huge amount of the wood pallets we used to build with,” said Geraci. 

Dambo’s direct interactions with the community, particularly the youth, significantly inspired the intentionality behind his project. The artist wanted Mama Mimi to be accessible to all and in a wide-open space where children could run, play and climb.

Dambo considered several locations for his art installation. R-Park stood out to him as an open space where the community could collectively and freely gather while also surrounded by nature.

“R- Park is full of life and pretty whimsical and magical and you can fill it with your imagination which I think Thomas did and now we have a tangible thing,” said R-Park Director, Jr. Rodriguez.

In the end, being fully immersed in the environment in Jackson allowed Dambo to make crucial decisions regarding the construction and placement of his Giant Troll all in the interest of those who would visit Mama Mimi.

But it was truly the hospitality of Outpost of Jackson Hole and other local entities working together that allowed Dambo to comfortably spend his time in Jackson and seek creative inspiration from the community.

“Outpost’s role in housing a visiting artist was incredibly important to the success of the project,” Geraci said. “We really could not have done it without their support.”

Now, that very community gets to reap the benefits of a spectacular art installation that is expected to inhabit R-Park for years to come.

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