Thursday, March 21, 2019

Cathedral of Junk

The Cathedral of Junk is located in quiet suburban neighborhood in Austin Texas (4422-4424 Lareina Dr, Austin, Texas 78745) in the back yard of the artist who created it. It is a living sculpture, meaning it is always in flux as its creator, owner and curator, Vince Hannemann, adds new features and edits others out. Construction began in his backyard in 1988 and new items are added constantly. He estimated that it now contains 60 tons of junk. His puppy acted as our unofficial docent and Vince left us to explore. You should call  should you ever decide to visit the Cathedral. Vince welcomed my request to sketch.

The unassuming cathedral can not be seen from the street. The main tower has an inner structure of re bar onto which is attached every for of junk you can imagine. Hubcaps, gears, surf boards, rocking horses, guitars, road signs, a glittering array of Cd's and a shrine to Elvis and Madonna. Crutches pointed to the heavens at the top of the tower. Though the materials are unorthodox, there is a reverence to the place, like a true cathedral. The place is also multi leveled with steps winding up to a high perch overlooking the neighborhood. It is a true playground for adults and children alike. No single sketch or photo can do the place justice. There is something new to see every few inches.

Yuppies in the townhouse behind the cathedral had complained to the city asking it to be torn down. Several engineers have studied the structure looking for weak spots but it is built to withstand any Texas storm. The only thing that did have to come down was a pyramid of 200 TVs. Although the engineering of a pyramid might be sound, the TVs are lighter than stone and might become projectiles in a hurricane.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

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