“In the desert of northern New Mexico, if you listen carefully, you just might hear something more than the wind.”
You can hear the sounds of a 78-year-old man obsessed with his work.
From a small entryway, you will find yourself into a sandstone cavern where an extraordinary man, Ra Paulette, has spent the last 25 years of his life alone with his faithful dog. This American sculptor obsessively digs massive, ornately carved sandstone caves in Northern New Mexico and turns them into breathtaking works of art.
Paulette is self-taught and works with only hand tools like shovels, pickaxes, and scrapers, which is one reason as to why it takes him years to finish.
When asked if he is a man obsessed with cave digging, he responded thoughtfully: "Is a child obsessed with play?" He went on to say that when you love what you are doing, you are propelled to do it all the time.
He considers his magnificent pieces as environmental projects carrying a vision to inspire people to open up emotionally in response to the potential and immensity his carvings invoke.
Martha Mendoza from Los Angeles Times described the cave as hallowed places, a "sanctuary for prayer and meditation" while others described it as compelling works of art.
Undoubtedly, Paulette created genuine magic in the underground caves in the desert of Northern New Mexico. They are intimate and overwhelming all at once. However, Ra doesn't consider himself an artist, but simply as an individual passionately expressing his sense of fascination.
The video below shows the rest of Paulette's story and gives you a tour around his majestic caves. Unbelievably, his work was unsung until Jeffrey Karoff, a filmmaker, asked to do a documentary about him entitled "Cave Digger". The film ended up being nominated for an Academy Award.