The massive flames licking the ground around the National Ranching Heritage Center in Lubbock, Texas, reach up to eight feet high, glowing bright red, orange, and yellow against the dusty backdrop. Fortunately, these "flames" pose no threat to the array of nearby trees, grasses, and buildings -- and if the record-breaking heat keeps up, they may just melt away altogether.
Made of tens of thousands of Crayola crayons, Nashville-based artist Herb Williams' five 3-D flame sculptures were commissioned by the center as an art installation to draw attention to the devastating wildfires that have swept through the parched state recently as it experienced the hottest summer in recorded U.S. history.
The heat has already significantly changed the shape of the wax-based sculptures, which are meant to melt under the Texas sun, according to a press release from the artist:
Because each sculpture is made of wax, it will melt and change shape in the hot outdoor conditions. Moreover, each piece of art will continue to be altered by blowing wind and dry conditions such as those that affect the intensity and duration of real wildfire. The colorful crayons will provide a striking contrast to the dry, brown landscape and be reminiscent of an actual wildfire.
Underneath their colorful exteriors, the sculptures' "substructures were ... painted black, so that when the crayons do begin melting off of the structures, they will resemble the ashen landscape that the wildfires leave behind," Williams told the website My Modern Metropolis.
Along with educational programs at the center, the outdoor exhibit, "Unwanted Visitor: Portrait of Wildfire," aims to raise awareness about the causes of wildfire, wildfire prevention, and the effects of wildfire on the environment. Opened to the public Oct. 7, it will be on display until the end of the year.
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