An abandoned concrete mixer along I-10 has been transformed into a space capsule.
Adding to roadside attractions such as concrete tepees and dinosaurs, Arizona added its newest oddity Sunday with a space capsule between Phoenix and Tucson.
The artwork made use of an abandoned concrete truck off Interstate 10 near Casa Grande.
“I think its going to be known as the ‘Casa Grande Capsule,’ ” said artist Jack Millard, 53, of Scottsdale.
“The cement mixer was abandoned there for 30 years just rusting in the field,” Millard said.
He was driving by on his way to the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show when he said he saw the mixer and was inspired. He chuckled to himself and thought it looked like the capsules astronauts use to return to Earth after space missions.
Arizona drivers traveling from Phoenix and Tucson along I-10 are noticing a peculiar sight for the desert. Artist Jack Millard repurposed an abandoned cement mixer to look like a spacecraft had crashed in the Casa Grande field. Tom Tingle/The Republic
“I just get these impulses to create,” he said. “Its a glorified yard ornament.”
The capsule is two miles north of Florence Boulevard on a ranch on the west side of Interstate 10.
He reached out to the owners to ask about the project.
“At first they were skeptical,” he said. But he convinced them.
“I think they were tickled by the idea,” he said.
On Feb. 2, Millard started transforming the concrete mixer into a space capsule. He had help from another artist, Ren Eide.
The capsule was made to look like it descended from space, with a used cargo parachute that Millard bought at a military surplus store attached for effect.
About 10 cars pulled over as he worked on the piece, and some thought it was authentic, he said. He explained that it was an art project to the commuters as well as to the police who stopped by.
“I don’t know what to expect,” he said. “If they enjoy it, that’s great. We live in such a cynical, jaded world. If it distracts them for a moment, that’s a wonderful thing.”
But Millard said sometimes art speaks deeper to people, saying he imagines one day someone might look at it and see “hope or pride,” or think about America and putting men on the moon.
“It certainly will outlive me,” Millard said.
Millard has been working as a professional actor for 25 years, and had minor roles in “The Big Short” and “Star Trek.”
To find the capsule, if heading to Tucson from Phoenix, it will be on the right side south of McCartney Road. If heading towards Phoenix it will be on the left side, north of Florence Boulevard/State Route 287.