Ra Paulette is a self-taught artist who has spent the last 25 years turning hillsides in northern New Mexico into unbelievable and ornate caves. The 67-year-old digs out each cave by hand, then uses basic hand tools to carve detailed patterns on their walls.
One could say that Ra Paulette’s hand-dug caves are museums, and the walls are the art on display.
Ra Paulette has committed nearly half of his life to art, and completed about a dozen caves.
Each cave was painstakingly dug out by the artist, and features a unique interior that is inspired by designs in nature.
Paulette calls the caves his “wilderness shrines.” Some include detailed columns that reach as high as 40 feet.
Each cave also features light peeking from above, which juxtaposes the feeling of being underground.
It is hard to believe that one man created all of these elaborate sandstone caves by hand.
The caves were a well-kept secret for a long time, but, in 2014, filmmaker Jeffrey Karoff learned about the artist and created a documentary about his amazing work.
To learn more about the Academy Award nominated film, “Cavedigger,” visit the film’s website. Additional images of Paulette's spectacular caves can be found on his website, as well as a virtual cave tour.