I visited Cadillac Ranch as a part of a familiarization trip with the city of Amarillo, Texas. All opinions are my own.
Welcome to Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, Texas home of 10 Cadillacs buried nose down in the ground. Yes, you got that right. These are actual Cadillacs partially buried and sticking up out of the ground! And no, this isn’t a ranch in the classic sense of the word, but public outdoor art installation or sculpture.
Cadillac Ranch was created in 1974 along Interstate 40 (which replaced Route 66) by the art group”Ant Farm” and some of it’s members including Chip Lord, Hudson Marquez, and Doug Michels, with help from Stanley Marsh. What is the meaning of this art wonder? Does it represent hot dogs on a plate or the Great Pyramids of Giza some have asked? Actually, according to Chip Lord, it was inspired by a 1959 Cadillac ad found in a book titled “The Look of Cars.” Go figure!
You are not just invited to come gaze on this outdoor work of art. The incredible thing is that you are welcome climb on and add your own paint creations actually becoming part of the art.
Jon Rivett, professor of Art at West Texas A&M University joined our group at Cadillac Ranch. Jon grew up in Amarillo and shared his youth stories of hanging out at Cadillac Ranch. Evenings with friends over legal graffiti–can’t you picture it? Now Jon is a part of the upkeep of the Ranch. Picking up hundreds of paint cans may not sound romantic, but what about mass spraying the Cadillacs one color and starting over? Jon has done that several times!
Yes, the layers of paint build up and eventually begin breaking off. Artist Crocodile Lile was inspired by the structure and began making jewelry from the chips of paint that fall off. You can purchase Cadillac paint jewelry at Lile Art Gallary on Route 66 in Amarillo!
Don’t forget a bottle of spray paint when you visit! Don’t just come to look. Come and be a part of Cadillac Ranch.
You know I did! My first ever graffiti–I was feeling so cool about now!
Make plans on your next West Texas road trip to stop by this unique roadside attraction. You will not be alone. Jon Rivett said he has never been there, rain or shine when there wasn’t people coming and going to get their own taste of Cadillac Ranch.
If you listen you will most likely hear multiple languages during your time here as people from all over the world come to experience Cadillac Ranch! It is absolutely free! It was one of my favorite places in Amarillo.