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He Puts Off The Creepiest Vibe – Who Is Rippie, Part 2

He really puts off the creepiest vibe.

Everybody says so. I used to say he’s like the Grinch who stole Christmas. The Grinch lived out at the edge of town where everybody could see his house but it was where no one would go. Finally we find out the Grinch is not so bad, just damaged. That’s what Rippie was like.

I’ve always been an artist and always will be no matter how difficult–I will never stop making art–it’s in my blood. I saw that same spirit in Rippie too. He was burying these cars and that was that. No one could stop him. I saw the romance in this small town outlaw’s vision immediately.

Rippie came from a Southern state, Tennessee I think, and used to be a nice looking guy at one time. But now he was 68 looking as if he were 78–he’s a dedicated chain smoker, plus he’s fat now. He’s got very sweet crystal blue eyes. He’s soft spoken and uses simple words. He WAS soft spoken. Sorry, I had said I’d write about him as if he were already dead.

Michael Mark Backhoe

I believe I also have the kind of eyes that look sweet so me & Rippie, we both have sweet blue eyes.

In the movie As Good As it Gets, Helen Hunt’s character says to Jack Nicholson’s character (who is a world class asshole) “When I first saw you I thought you had sweet eyes: SO MUCH FOR EYES!” Maybe that goes for me too, I dunno, but it definitely goes for Rippie. So much for eyes!

He always wanted me to write about him, so here I am. Michael Mark Rippie, you were such an asshole but this Car Forest you made was a good thing.

Some people in town thought I was his son. I met his son once. Thank God I’m not him. But I guess this explains the resistance I got from alot of people there. Virginia is the little old lady who acts as caretaker of the Goldfield Hotel and she lets the ghost hunters in on their expeditions at that famous property. You may have seen her on TV. I don’t know, I don’t watch ghost hunter shows. Virginia wouldn’t even shake my hand when I extended it the day we met. She said to me “I’m not with you.” I was the President of the Chamber of Commerce so being connected to Rippie I guess she thought I had bad intentions for the town.

Rippie had a book started that he wanted me to finish for him ghost writer style, but see, not my kind of subject matter. There was something in his story about fucking a horse and that’s just not my direction. Some real insight can be gained by looking at what a man writes. I think there was a black guy in the story too. It was a cowboy story and the black cowboy had to fight for his right to survive. Rippie was not a racist, a dabbler in bestiality, perhaps, but not a racist. Life had hardened him.

Michael Mark Viewer

One time Zak and I came back from Reno and the old man was the talk of the town (again). It seems Rippie had tied a couple jackasses to the bumper of his one ton and was going to tow them down the main street, Highway 95, to his side of town. Jackasses are notoriously stubborn and I guess to cross the corner of the highway he had to speed them up on their leashes to avoid oncoming traffic. Instead of coming along nicely, they dropped to the ground and left bloody skid marks as they were dragged across the asphalt. I was not there, but in his defense, he’s stupid as he is stubborn. This is why he loves jackasses–he told me as much. Plus we had already agreed that the animal is the official mascot of Goldfield. Anyway, he didn’t seem to foresee this bloody outcome. His intention was to help these animals and not to hurt them. To say that the jackass drug some jackasses across the highway would not be an understatement. He didn’t choose a side street for this adventure. I guess that would have been too low key. I actually think Rippie was intelligent it’s just his egoic displays got in the way for him sometimes.

In my short time as a resident I experienced a most unusual existence in Goldfield. MichaelMark Rippie had always lived unusually but I’d say our time together was probably the best topper for the second to last chapter of a man’s life. His final chapter of life won’t shine more brightly than this one but he’ll be able to bask in his own glory through his remaining years; he had finally built something. We made a substantial thing thanks to the belief we had in his vision.

The Ghouls were these grave diggers in Goldfield over one hundred years ago that had to move the graveyard. Over the course of a couple weeks of late night sessions they were able to move all the bodies to a new location, a final resting place of final resting places. The graveyard was originally located at the spot where people stepped off the train upon arrival at the station. A graveyard to greet you when stepping off the train is not good planning and the ghouls had volunteered to correct this blunder.

525131_354857821247224_68277388_n I’d be too unskilled to appropriately express the beautiful moments I felt in that place and the unique feeling of burying cars overlooking this crumbly brick & trailer town at the edge of nowhere in the middle of the night when the wind is nil and the temperature is right. There’s that certain temperature where it matches your body’s perfectly. The air outside my skin feels the same as inside and the stars shine so brightly. Everything feels vibrant and I know I’m doing unique things. We were Goldfield’s new Ghouls. Not a savory job but someone’s gotta’ do it.

After our midnight backhoe sessions, everybody slept good.

This was part 2 in the Who Was MichaelMark Rippie series. Subscribe to this page to be alerted of the rest of this series.

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Who Was MichaelMark Rippie?

I’ll speak of him as if he were dead. I got this idea from Mark Twain, the opening of his autobiography. He introduced the book with talk about how he’d need to write as if he were already dead. Exposing such blatant and intimate “privacies”, he’d have to write as if he were already gone.

For the sake of my writings, I’m going to just assume Mark Rippie is dead. One cannot be too careful. At the time of this writing, no, he’s not dead, but being incapacitated as I’m told he is, I don’t think he’ll be reading my words–though he might, so who knows. I’ll write as if he’s gone already.

You’d have to be inside the relationship that he and I had to understand the man’s views at all. His ex-wife seems to understand him and I know that she can’t handle being around him. I can’t stand being around him and I don’t think there are many people at all that do know him and can stand him. Quite simply, he’s not a nice guy. But knowing him as I do, I know that this is not a fact that he’d mind me relaying to you–in fact he’d actually love it. That’s Rippie.

Having said that I’ve gotta’ mention the huge amount of gratitude I have for Michael “Mark” Rippie’s vision. We did end up doing just exactly as he had in mind to do. It was his land and his cars–at least I think they were his–and I just helped him. He said he’d make me famous. Yeah I’m getting some notoriety from what we did. Maybe wealth will follow, we’ll see.

If you’ve ever been around a sociopath you might understand that certain people see the world in a way that only suits their own needs. If you suit their needs then you will be used to facilitate things. I did that. I’m an artist with an interest in outsider artists and environments. Mark Rippie was a determined visionary and certainly an outsider. “Artist” is an arguable label so let’s make it simple: yes.

Is a desert rat unskilled and burying cars with a backhoe an artist? If he’s got someone to publicize him then I guess he is, yes. Besides, I was always the artist. He was the visionary.420081_299463073453366_43964780_n

My friend Zak moved out to Rippie Ranch too because Zak’s the strongest guy I know. I knew he’d be useful to our endeavor. Zak’s got a little girl (6 years old right now) and Goldfield was a great place to raiser her for awhile. She saw a different kind of life than from that in the city. He’s also pretty creative himself, Zak, so it was an effort between the three of us building this car forest.

I met Rippie one day driving thru Goldfield. I let him know how much I appreciated his erect car I spied off the road a bit. Quickly I saw his vision for a whole “forest” of these cars and that very day we met he invited me to come and help him make this happen. He needed an artist to make art out of them once they were standing and in return he’d pay me in room and board. This was around 2004 or 5. I had a driving job installing art shows across the state of Nevada working for the state of Nevada and the stars aligned when Rippie and I met that day.

He pushed the shotgun scabbard aside and I hopped on the back of his four wheeler. His beard is long & frizzled grey and a dingy rolled cigarette stump never leaves the corner of his mouth. He has a revolver on his hip at all times. Even though he talks exactly like the dirty redneck from those movies who”ll blast a hole in ya’ and then rape your corpse, I was game for an adventure.

He said he intended to break the Guinness Book Record; “Carhenge up in Nebaraska has 27 cars stickin’ outta’ the ground”. It wasn’t until the fall of 2011 that I moved to Goldfield full time to live in a dingy trailer beside him and his 7 dogs, but before then I was able to stop and paint a few cars en route through Goldfield for him through the years. He had about 10 in the ground when I got there.581240_354856787913994_930104443_n

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A video from the car forest, 2005 or so:

MichaelMark Plays by nadasorg subscribe to this page to be alerted of the rest of this series.

Yep, We’ll Shootcha!

A Peek at Paintings, Saint Michael Mark and Pink Nude

Painting More Rust in My Surroundings (slideshow)

“Did I mention UFOs?” Goldfield Journal #2

Today, we’re ordering paint. 

MichaelMark has a white van. It’s a conversion van. It’s one of many cars he’s got to drive. This one has a living room in the back. We’re driving down to the library pretty soon because his computer guy is not coming tonight.

It seems he’s got a guy living in one of the far trailers, up by the car forest and he knows computers, so he’ll be here to fix the wifi connection. We need to get online, it’s my art. MichaelMark too to an extent. We’ll be getting him more inline so he can be getting things out there. We have alot of information to get from out there; his plans to make this into a camping destination, it will involve some things we’ve gotta’ find out about.

There’s hot water under us. Hydrothermal power and hot springs are around here.

We’re watching a great science episode about time and space right now. It’s hosted by Morgan Freeman. I’m thinking of doing a giant portrait of him. Gotta look that up from the library parking lot. It’s gravel, by the way.

This place is a destination for artists, this much we know. There are no restrictions here and today we’re talking about burning cars. We’ll be making a chimney car. Campers can put fires to work to warm them. We have welders and we’re looking to get welders, as in artists, here. Steel work to be done.

All my friends are artists; some of them are time travelers I’m sure.. we’re going to knock your socks off.

International Car Forest of The Last Church.

Joshua trees here. This place is on the edge of the locale where they can grow. We shot amongst them yesterday. In one scene I was peeing on one while my crime partner meets me. I would not shake his hand. These trees are bizarre lifeforms. I’m becoming very fond of them. Pictures to come.

I’m looking at landscape photos to start painting on cars. I’ll need to order that paint today. Oil based, clear coat too. I need orange, lots of white, black, 2 blues, 2 reds, green, purples would be great. Yellows. As much metallic paints as possible, it could all be metallic, as far as I’m concerned. Pure saturated color and lots of clear. Layers. These things are going to glow and we’ll get good solar lights to light them up at night, water near these cars will be a good idea. Wash them once in awhile, cool the visitors while there, grow some foliage in this valley of cars. i want to see a windmill car. There’s a windchime car in the works.

The car forrest is young and lots of growth will be growing this place, we’re working on a kind of Eden out here.. the end of an age, car culture, the oil era is dying right now. This monument is in honor of this moment/spot in spacetime.

300,000 vehicles drive through here each year.

What other ideas for paintjobs? We’ll see. I want to do a joshua tree car. We’ll have a furry one I bet. A wood car, I think, is a good idea. I can’t wait to paint the box truck that holds up the mopar limo. It’ll be my masterpiece. That and the buses. Those buses will stand out of the ground 25 feet tall.

This is day 2 in Goldfield. I’m thinking of what to do in this moment to make coming months easiest and most rewarding. It’s always nice to bring fresh blood in and that’s what is happening at the Last Church right now. Goldfield will NOT be the same from now on.

I’m going to put on some headphones and probably listen to Pixies right now. Don’t drink the water here; there’s a mural on the side of a bar in town that says that.

I’ll be doing some cosmic cars and UFOs i do believe. The Dada car on the hill will be changing. I’m thinking it will need to say The Last Church. Not sure of the image.

I see right now this journal will serve as my spot to think of car painting ideas. It’ll be nice to have this project documented as it goes. I might as well stop calling it a project. I could be involved with this the rest of my life.

The place of art is mostly to bridge ideas from spirituality and so-called science; just ideas made material. That’s all art is. To make art, a connection with other humans is needed. It’s the connection that we’re doing that bridges, not just ideas, but minds. We become more ant like the more that we share. Please share anything I share with you here. I’d appreciate that.

MichaelMark & I are talking and devising what kinds of paints and finishes we’re looking to achieve here. There are sands that reflect light because they’re tiny beads of glass. You can see these glass sands on the city streets. It’s what makes street paint reflective. It’s literally a surface sprayed across surfaces made of glass. Light particles/waves are stretched and bent to magnify light emanating from our ‘forest’.

Did I mention UFOs? We’ll be doing different kinds of lights for sure.

“Yes, The Bus is Standing Up on End” Goldfield Journal #11

There’s a great radio station here in Goldfield. I realize that’s hard to believe it, but they’ll play all these songs I’ve never heard, such as this 80’s funk song sayin’ “Get funky!” I realize this doesn’t narrow it down much but it’s kinda funny. There’s this primitive rapping in it and ‘kangg-kownnngg, waahhh wahhh’ kinda sounds.

Most of this stuff I never hear on the radio. They don’t have to make money on the songs anymore so they’re not played. Banjo, Willie, Patsy and Johnny Cash, but then a lot of really funky choices are thrown up against Bob Marley or Dylan. The only commercials are these really stupid impersonations of Nixon begging for donations to the station so they can replace their ’62 Dell computer.

Did you ever see Vanishing Point? It was made in the very early 70’s and featured a radio DJ that broadcast from the Goldfield Hotel. The hotel has not changed one bit and I don’t think the rest of the town has either. It’s a car movie and touted as having some of the best chase scenes in the history of cinema. It’s a classic, watch it some time.

It’s nice sitting here right now. I’m at the car forest. I came to visit some cars and see where I wanna’ go with them. I was able to the cars and kick some dirt off their windshields & pick up scraps a bit. I even got to spray a bit of color. I have some great metallic and basically every color I could want. We’ve got these little mirror pieces to apply to some cars, so I was planning that out a bit too. It won’t be all painting on these cars. I hope to get some great welders here to build shade off of these things too; maybe make a few of them into steel trees, with leaves. I imagine the people camping here in the future under the cars.

Yes, the bus is standing up on end above us on the hill. You can see this thing from EVERYWHERE in town. I know because we drove across town today and I could see it at all times, up on a ridge. The bus is much higher than the tallest building in town. This sleepy village gives me delight; 198 people with mostly run down homes. There’s not much point in keeping things presentable, but they must wonder what the hell Michael Mark’s up to. He likes to allude to people here being scared of him, or at least not sure of his motivations. He considers himself a bit of an outcast. We’ll show them.

Mark is currently running the backhoe and is about to bury aPlymouthstation wagon, bluish white. It’s kinda’ nice lookin’ with its 4 headlights that are round. Body looks pretty good on it. It will be a beautiful canvas for someone. It was my choice where to stand this one up and I suggested we put it on a hill coming into the gully that is the most concentrated area of car forest. This car can also be seen from all over town.

K-Pow is looking great. I got up here in the Suburban just before sunset and at that time it was sprinkling a little bit. It gave the painting a real nice look with water beading up on it. I started with that car when I got to Goldfield a couple weeks ago, and as I predicted, it’s gotten the most attention from me so far. The explosion was painted pretty well, I’d say. The yellows to reds contrast nicely with some purple, blues and black. I used a brush just a little bit to set it off more sharply.

At this point I’ve got around 6 cars I’m making art on so I’m trying to stick to them and not expand my territory. It’s been a very popular invitation to ask my friends if they’d like to have a car to paint. In the dust & sun or snow  wind, at least they’ll have a good station to listen to.

“Yes, The Bus is Standing Up on End” Goldfield Journal #11

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