san angelo…an amazing site to see!


Old Chicken Farm Art Center
2505 Martin Luther King
San Angelo is quite the hotspot these days, unfortunately the FLDS story is dominating the TV, and is all the buzz in the breakfast lobby, with most guests being in town for various reasons relating to the sad story.  
The day may have started at the Chicken Farm Art Center (where they were getting ready for a big ceramics event next weekend, and were very helpful in our finding Mr. Cadena’s wall, but it was the end of the day I think needs to be the first photo of the blog…a site that truly awed me…Jesus Zertuche’s Cascada de Piedra Pinta.

Mr. Cadena’s Wall
corner of 25th and Briant  
So, back to the start of the day.  There were a few wrong turns (that yielded good photo ops for my other project), but we found it…with no one home.  But that wasn’t too surprising, as we weren’t expected…Mr. Cadena doesn’t have a phone.  Mr. Cadena’s wall is built with rocks that he has collected for over 13 years, from various jobs locales as far away as Minnesota (picking asparagus, sugar beets and corn) then returning to the Concho Valley to pick cotton.  Also in the wall are a couple of sewing machines, wagon wheels, and ceramic sculptures…as well as some friendly goats poking their heads out to see what I was up to.
Cool Stone Houses
a number of places
After lunch, where Narrow Larry Harris drove in from Houston to join in on the fun..and is scouting for a future Orange Show Eye Opener Tour, we headed off to meet a local architect, Craig Kinney,  for a tour of amazing stone houses throughout San Angelo.  The houses, with their unique rock patterns, feature a rope mortar technique that is sometimes colored in green or red.  
Bobby Peiser
102 Tyler Terrace
Next stop, a visit with Bobby Peiser, retired law enforcement officer and his bride to be.  Bobby has a beautiful succulent garden, along with welded metal sculptures…an art form he just picked up a couple of years ago.
Jesus Zertuche’s Cascada de Piedra Pinta 
(Waterfall of the Painted Rock)
Jesus Zertuche  |  1932  |  created 2002-2005  (approx)
509 Pulliam Street
Last, but far from least, a site worthy of note to those searching out self taught environments…Jesus Zertuche’s Waterfall of the Painted Rock.  We weren’t sure whether we would connect with Mr. Zertuche, as there was a bit of a language barrier, and some missed connections with his daughter who was to serve as an interpreter.  When we arrived, no one was home.  So we took photos, ohhhed and awwwed the home, and then Mr. Zertuche and his new bride arrived, looking dapper, and being amazingly gracious.
We were serenaded with self-penned songs of the waterfall by Mr. Zertuche, and he good-naturedly attempted an interview with the guys from Rare Visions, sans interpreter. This home environment features light stones with mortar painted black for a sharp contrast (reminded me of Hubert Walters’ sculptures).  In the front yard is the center piece… the multi-tiered sculpture and waterfall.
(excerpted from “Yard Art and Handmade Places: Extraordinary Expressions of Home” by Jill Nokes, with Pat Jasper)  
Jesus was born in Anllende, Coahuila, a border state in northern Mexico.  He worked in the army there as an instructor ant later was hired by O.C. Fisher, the former U.S. congressman who served the west Texas district for thirty-one years.  Mr. Fisher helped Jesus get his immigration papers and bring his family to Texas.  Jesus worked on the Fishers’ ranch near Junction, Texas, for twenty-four years before moving to San Angelo in 1979.  There he worked in a foundry and later in a Western Auto store.
When he retired, he and his wife made plans to build a waterfall with wading pool in the back yard, where Mrs. Zertuche could take a private dip to cool off during the scorching San Angelo summer.  Sadly, though, his wife died before he could accomplish this task.  Instead of abandoning their dream altogether, Jesus decided to build something on a grander scale, more a monument than a wading pool, and he placed it on display in the front yard.
Odometer: 1091
Car tune – Old 97s live (wasn’t in the car that much…but do I love the song “Great Barrier Reef”)