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Exposing Texas's Ungodly Heat, With Giant Melting Crayon Sculptures

Herb Williams builds 3-D flames out of 60,000 to 70,000 Crayola crayons that melt and warp under the raging Texas sun, exposing the conditions that stoke real wildfires.

Blazes have been ripping across Texas this year, as the state endures its worst drought in history. To educate the public about wildfires, the National Ranching Heritage Center (NRHC) in Lubbock commissioned Tennessee artist Herb Williams to construct a smattering of giant, flame-shaped sculptures, some 8 feet tall, using 60,000 to 70,000 Crayola crayons.

As time passes, the crayons melt and warp on the landscape, their slumped forms exposing the parched, blowy conditions that feed real flames. Unwanted Visitor: Portrait of Wildfire opened October 7 and already, as you can see in the photo above, the sculptures have liquefied significantly.

Williams built Unwanted Visitor with a grant from the Texas Commission on the Arts. "We were very excited about this because their budget has been cut so drastically this year," NRHC’s Emily Arellano tells Co.Design. Guess Williams’s installation highlights another destructive force in Texas: That of its budget-slashing politicians.

[Images courtesy of the National Ranching Heritage Center]