California’s Zorthian Ranch is a strange compendium of rusting vehicles, roaming llamas, junk and artists working to upkeep and revitalize the land.
The 27-acre ranch is the once-home of artist Jirayr Zorthian, who died in 2004 at the age of 92. Zorthian and his first wife purchased the ranch land and they quickly began building structures and art spaces from the discarded materials of local builders and from the very land itself. The buildings and their attendant art pieces epitomize the found art / junk art movement using a mishmash of rusted metal, broken concrete, river rocks, telephone poles and the like. In addition to the artistic installations, the ranch also houses a number animals such as horses, goats, and assumedly free-range llamas.
While Jirayr Zorthian has passed away, his aesthetic legacy at Zorthian Ranch is kept alive by his son, Alan Zorthian, who still resides on the property along with a number of other wandering creatives. Jirayr gained much of his fame and income from artistic pieces commissioned during World War II, including the large Pentagon mural, but these days the ranch makes most of its income from acting as a shooting location for films and photography.
Know Before You Go
Drive north on Fair Oaks Avenue, past what seems like a children's park or school and follow the mildly treacherous dirt road all the way up. The road dead-ends at Zorthian, which can't be missed. Zorthian Ranch is a private residence. Currently, the ranch offers classes and activities focused on permaculture and art. Historical tours are available