I was making my way from Alpine to El Paso and needed a diversion before a long and meditative drive along I-90 through mesquite scrub. This is when I stopped by a church on sleepy West Dallas Street. It’s monastic profile was almost entirely obfuscated by clusters of prickly pear cacti and statuesque blue agave. A five-foot tall neon horse shoe stood sentry not far from the entrance.
Part bordertown iglesia and tourist trading post, the church belongs to artists Buck Johnston and Camp Bosworth. The two relocated to Marfa on a whim, purchased the abandoned place of worship, and have since turned it into their private residence, studio space, and storefront. Here from their home near the Chisos Mountains Bosworth’s cartoon-like sculptures of revolvers, dog bones, and Rick Ross-worthy gold chains take shape. Influenced by Southwestern artisans and Mexican cartel wars in equal measure, his work is a compelling picture of culture caught at the crossroads of craft and conflict. Their pet coyote pads around the whitewashed floorboards of the shop most days. He occasionally rests from his role as shop watch dog to take late afternoon siestas beneath the store’s single table –usually piled high with a rotating assortment of vintage Levi’s, handmade ceramics, and Johnston’s screenprints.