Meet Pinky Diablo, the Innately Weird Artist and Teacher with a Spare Toe

Categories: Q&A

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If we were your great grandmother, we'd say Tom Sale is a character. Mostly because he is. These days Sale is widely known as Pinky Diablo, creator of affordable art for the masses. His recent show at Webb Gallery was truly captivating, and after we spent a little time with him, we learned he is too.

Who are you and what do you do?
When I was 3, I called myself Bom-Bom. When I was 40, I renamed myself Pinky Diablo. I am an artist, teacher, preacher and stirrer up of trouble. I paint skeletons on the insides of old book covers. I carve skulls in the bowls of silver spoons. I am a Facebook addict.

Where are you from?
I was born in Corpus Christi during a hurricane.

How did you get into art/sewing/odd things?
From my grandmother. When I was in second grade, I got up every morning and added several feet to a crochet chain that ended up hundreds of feet long. I think I am innately odd. For the past several years, I have worked a few hours every week with my friend and fabric artist, Judy Vetter. She provides the sewing know-how. I provide the odd. We have made some fabulous art together.

Where did you get your artistic ability from?
My maternal grandmother could make anything from nothing. I like to think I got some of her skills.

What one thing are you most proud of? (An art piece, a show, even something intangible.)
Probably my skull spoon and skeleton watercolor empire ... no, actually, teaching (at least on the good days when it seems like the students and I are in "the zone").

What do you do for inspiration?
My best ideas are jotted down while driving.

What places are on your bucket list?
Nepal and Detroit

What's the weirdest thing you do?
Everything I do is weird. I collect floor sweepings in jars. I officiate at weddings on mountain tops. I do math equations at my special math desk. I collect photos of pet monkeys. I cut the heels out of my dress shoes. I paint strips of bacon for relaxation (paintings of bacon -- not on bacon). In the fall, I obsessively count horse apple trees while driving. I am a serial obsessionist. Some of my past obsessions have included tornadoes, icebergs, chunks of wood with handles, the Ottoman Empire and Florence Nightingale.

What's the best gift you ever got?
A human toe.

Secret guilty pleasure?

What would your final meal be?
Neither #9 nor #10

Do you own or use a butter knife? If yes, do you feel it was a waste of money?
Every Christmas, I stamp a few silver butter knives with dirty words and sell them at Dolly Python. I have never kept one for myself.

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Love this man! He is an amazing artist and art teacher, and I am so glad I got to take his class. :D

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