Self-Taught Artist Thornton Dial

Thornton Dial
Mark Mahaney for TIME

Portrait of the Artist
Born in 1928 in rural Alabama, Thornton Dial began making "things" (as he called them) as a younger man. "I started picking up stuff," he says. "Beer cans, plastic bottles. I was making stuff to sell." He made a lot of it, until it filled up the house he shared with his wife Clara Mae Murrow and their five children. "My wife told me, If you don't get this junk out of the house, I'm going to leave you," he says.

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