By Gail Clifford | Above photo by Harold Hall, haroldhallphotography.com.
How many places exist where you can paint over existing art? It’s THE reason to stop at Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, Texas.
Bring some spray paint and paint this “town” red, green, blue, or yellow. Don’t forget your boots, for puddles and muddy areas. Park along the street, cross through the gate in the fence (it’s free!), and walk a couple blocks through the field to reach the cars.
Cadillac Ranch is suitable for any generation: kids and teens will enjoy the graffiti experience, while adults will love both the art and the memories the cars evoke — if they’re not tagging the cars, themselves!
Cadillac Ranch began as an art collaboration. Millionaire Stanley Marsh commissioned San Francisco’s 1970s art collective, The Ant Farm, to create a new installation. Ten Cadillacs were found and purchased from local dumps.
Since their installation in 1974, the Cadillacs have been moved only once, due to Amarillo’s expansion. In 1997, Marsh personally supervised the vehicles’ transfer to their current location.
As for the graffiti? It was not an intent of the original artists. But Marsh was said to think it looked better all the time. The cars have been painted both for charity and community events. They were once painted all pink for breast cancer, and black for a funeral.
Just make sure to take a picture of your work, before someone sprays over it with their own.
There were groups ranging in size from two to 20 on the day my family and I went. Most people had spray paint, but some did not. Someone had music playing – BAND on THE RUN and AIR THAT I BREATHE and WILD THING, all released in 1974. We took our photos, admired the art, and laughed at some shenanigans.
Before you go, check the wind direction. If it comes from the south, you may be breathing more fumes than you expected. Bring some white paint, if you’d like to start off with a blank canvas. And, for the best photographs, make sure to arrive by sunset. That spectacular light bathes the cars and makes the art pop.
Don’t forget to check both Google and Atlas Obscura when you travel. They offer great places to stop to stretch your legs or give the kids a break.
About the photographer:
Photographer Harold Hall was born and raised in “The Land of Enchantment,” Los Alamos, New Mexico. He retired April 2011 and has been home free and traveling ever since, no RV, no home base. He has photographed his journey in Europe, Mexico, China, Portugal, Eastern Europe, Tahiti, New Zealand, Australia, the Easter Islands, across America and more. Harold’s photography has appeared in Chicago Magazine, published in New Mexico Magazine and awarded several honors and awards from the Hubbard Museum in New Mexico as well as the 2010 Grand Prize winner in their annual photography exhibition. In 2013 he received 1st Place, Grand Prize for his photography portfolio in the New Mexico Magazine Photo Contest. Visit Harold’s website and travel blog to view his photos and experience his travels through his photography. http://www.haroldhallphotography.com http://www.haroldhallphotography.com/blog/