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Aug 27, 2020
On the plains of old Comancheria known now as Texas stand 10 giants, brothers from eons ago. Each lived life and when they died, they found themselves buried in Texas. Well not quite. Like a Texas High Plains Stone hinge, the back half stands out of the earth at the angle of the great pyramids. Since 1974 when they were originally conceived by the art collective, the Ant Farm, and put into the ground they have weathered the worst people and nature could throw at them. Some consider them the ugliest thing others think they are beyond brilliant. Love them or hate them these 10 Cadillacs known as Cadillac Ranch draw millions of visitors a year.
When I came to Amarillo, in 2013, I was instantly drawn to them. I came to Amarillo, to switch careers. Burned out of social work, I turned to art. The Cadillacs are an ongoing art collaboration. People are invited to paint them graffiti style. Some create masterpieces. Some just mark them with their name or some other such commemorative. often the paint is so thick that it looks like stalactites:
The paint dried while dripping on the Cadillacs.
You just never know what kind of masterpiece awaits you at Cadillac Ranch. Painted by Gavin Grinie.
The paint is often so thick that when people climb on the Cadillacs they knock whole chunks of it off. The other thing that happens is in the summer heat, the metal under expands and pops a lot of paint off. so there are paint chips on the ground. Jim Saunders, jeweler extraordinary will take these paint cast offs and make jewelry. He is not the only one in town doing so.
Jim has been making jewelry for 45 years and has been in magazines and galleries across the United States. Celebrities who have purchased Jim's work is a who's who, going all the way back to Johnny Cash! Jim's treatment of the paint is different. other cut and polish the paint in such a way that you can see the layers of the paint. All very beautiful. But Jim allows for the layers to reveal themselves. He drimels paths of paint out, leaving a very textured piece. Not only that but the way he ends up polishing the piece it still looks like the original paint. It looks like it comes from Cadillac Ranch.
One more thing that Jim does is strengthen the paint chip. This allows the paint chip to stand on its own. By themself, without this, they are very brittle.
Jim's paint chips gave me the idea to create a piece of art that not only was a photo of Cadillac Ranch but a piece of Cadillac Ranch. But how to make an image of Cadillac Ranch that was worthy of Jim's art? I knew I wanted it metal. Then I found the process to do the image with a gold metallic finish. The Gold metallic finish is like looking the photo on burnished gold. It gives this photo of Cadillac Ranch a classic fine art feel. It took 10 tries to get it right but when I got it right, I decided the piece was so special it needed to be limited to 100. And even though there are 100, because of Jim's process, none of the paint chips are alike, making each one of the 100 totally unique. Each of these pieces is a 1 of a kind art piece.
If you are interested in the piece you can purchase one here: Graffiti Giants
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