Cave Digger: A Testimony to the Creative Process

A documentary filmmaker followed a self-taught cave-digger for a period of three years. The result was so astounding that the film was nominated for an Academy Award.

Ra Paulette digs cathedral-like art caves into the sandstone cliffs of Northern New Mexico. Each creation, made with nothing more than hand tools, takes him years to complete and each is a masterwork. Despite the fact that his work is breathtakingly gorgeous and he charged as little as $12/ hour for his time, patrons who have commissioned his art caves have cut off nearly all of his projects due to “artistic differences”. Paulette values the creative process and Divinely-inspired visions for his work over client preferences for aesthetics, stating, “I am not the paintbrush and my client is not the painter.”

Fed up, Ra has chosen to forego commissions altogether and focus on his Magnum Opus for the next 10 years.

“I don’t put any energy into being a success in the world. My strategy is to wait for something from heaven.”

The perseverance, dedication, and sheer joy Paulette gets out of his work is evident in the brief video included in this post. I highly encourage you to track down the documentary and watch it. I’m going to do so myself, as the world needs more people like Ra Paulette to share their passion for the creative process. If ever there was a more poignant testimony to the transformative aspect of the creative process over the product itself, it is this man’s work.

“It’s the process. I’m having the time of my life.” ~ Ra Paulette