We heard mention of some other, better art on another set of tanks somewhat near Salvation Mountain. On Sunday Ally the Greater, her two dogs and Larry started off on foot to find these rumored tanks with impressive paintings on them. Willow and I had done enough walking the day before after checking out Salvation Mountain and going on the Canal Hike so we said we’d follow along behind them in the Tacoma.
All I knew was that these tanks were “over there” and so headed out past the two top tanks and over towards the sandy cliffs at the South boundary of Slab City. At the edge we found a steep passage down and, with our Tacoma tires aired down to 20psi all soft and balloon-like, we easily made it down. Since the mountain of paint was to the right we turned to the left and were almost immediately greeted by this beautiful visage staring out into the sand.
Up around to the left of this face is a door with a sign stating that this is a private residence and is occupied year-round. What a cool place to squat and stake a claim. We wondered if perhaps the artist him or herself resides in there. We would have loved to see what sort of set up they had put together inside such a structure and how well it insulated the occupants from the outside weather but didn’t want to intrude. If the people who reside there ever happen to read this post, please consider having an open house tour sometime 😉
Around to the right side of the above portrait is another in the same style.
As we walk around to the right of the second pretty face my internal monologue blurts out in a Monty Python brogue “And now for something completely different” as this geometric-patterned, cubist, more basic-colored and flatter perspective piece appeared.
To the right of the tank in the pictures above is a second tank which had a concrete stairway leading up to the rim.
Once at the top you can look down into it and see more examples of this artist’s work lining the inside walls. The artist is Christina Angelina and the piece inside the water tank below is called Kinetoscope.
There is more art to the left of the stairs but to get a better view I walked out to the right on the tank rim so I could take some pictures looking back at them.
In retrospect I was remiss to not take a closer look to see if I could tell if the artist used brushes or trowel or air brush. You can tell from the pictures that the first face on the first tank is peeling but I don’t know what that might indicate besides “Been There Awhile.” Beside my enjoyment at the almost photo-realistic paintings on such a scale I also wonder if the subjects on the walls are real people? If so does the artist know them personally or are they just taken from the pictures of a magazine or the artist’s mind’s eye? Does the artist know any less-than-beautiful people? And lastly, if they are real, what are their names, ages and can I have her/their phone number(s)? Just kidding. Or Not.
Standing back below both of these tanks if one looks to the left there are some metal structures there. One large grouping is made mostly of welded-together bicycle frames and assorted tubing along with an automobile carcass or three.
Much of it looks like it was in a fire and we are told by a passerby that this is the remains of the final night spectacular from a large weekend-long rave that happens here once a year and just a week or so ago.
Even farther towards the painted mountain was this arch just sitting out all by its lonesome.
I initially thought it was some sort of cool skateboard ramp but on closer inspection the wavy corrugated metal sheeting which makes up the outer skin would make riding a skateboard on it…problematic.
It looked sturdy enough to climb up on it but I was feeling unadventurous (The Horror!) that day. Larry, having a job and good health insurance, decided to brave life and limb and check out the view from the top.
After he carefully worked his way down off the arch we had seen all there was to see in that area and so decided to head back to camp. All of a sudden my fortuitous decision to come in the Tacoma seems prescient as all the humans and dogs in our group decide, en masse that, all things considered, they would rather ride back than walk back. So with Willow in her front seat the other dogs and humans pile into my shell. We decide to leave the side windoors up both for air and vision and start the slow slog back up the sandy trail towards camp. If we didn’t have passengers in the back we would have driven a bit more enthusiastically but we still made it back in one piece which is all that matters. Another Adventure in the Books and art and culture to boot oh boy.