Gardeners of Junk Parks

“One man’s trash is another man’s treasure”, this phrase has been given a new meaning by art geniuses who have created sculpture parks/gardens with old objects, recycling junk, and discarded materials. These creative masterminds from around the world have dedicated years of their life in creating assembly of awesome sculptures, their masterpieces are displayed out in the open for public viewing and are now famous tourists spots.

Porter Sculpture Park (South Dakota)–  Wayne Porter a self-taught artist and a former sheep farmer, since his childhood years practiced metallic sculpting at his father’s Blacksmith Shop. Gradually as his interest in art grew his artworks became larger. His sculptures are in the style of industrial art, made with scrap metal, old farm equipment and railroad tie plates. In 2000 he opened his sculpture park, at present it is one of the most popular roadside attraction for tourists.  Out of all his quirky creations, the largest sculpture in the park is a 60-foot-tall bull head (Shown Below). This sculpture took three years to build, weighs 25 tons, and is equal in size to the heads of Mt. Rushmore.


Rock Garden (Chandigarh)– Nek Chand, another self-taught artist, started his sculpture garden in his spare time in 1957, today it is spread over an area of 40 acres. It is completely built of industrial and home waste and thrown-away items. In his spare time, Nek Chand started collecting materials from demolition sites around the city and created concrete sculptures made of scrap and other kinds of wastes (bottles, glasses, bangles, tiles, ceramic pots, sinks, electrical waste, etc.). The park was inaugurated as a public space in 1976, today it is one of the most visited tourist sites.


Carhenge (Nebraska)– was built by Jim Reinder in 1987 as a memorial to his father. It is a replica of England’s Stonehenge, instead of large standing stones, as is the case with the original Stonehenge, Carhenge is formed of welded discarded vintage American automobiles, all covered with gray spray paint. In addition to the Stonehenge replica, the Carhenge site includes several other sculptures created from autos parts of discarded cars covered with various colors of spray paint, it is also referred as the Car Art Reserve. There was a interesting documentary made in 2005 featuring the site-  ‘Carhenge: Genius or Junk?’

The original ‘Stonehenge’ (Bottom) and the replica ‘Carhenge’ (Top)


Cadillac Ranch (Texas) was created in 1974 by Chip Lord, Hudson Marquez and Doug Michels, who were a part of the art group ‘Ant Farm’. The public art installation/sculpture consists of used or junk Cadillac automobiles, the vehicles are installed half-buried nose-first in the ground, at an angle corresponding to that of the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt. Visitors are encouraged to write graffiti and spray-paint the vehicles however the cars are periodically repainted for various purposes, television commercial, once they were painted black to mark the passing of Doug Michels, another time they were painted rainbow colors to honor gay pride day and at times repainted to their original colors to simply have a fresh canvas for visitors.

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