Mechanical Riverfront Kingdom on Druid Hill – Decatur, Georgia - Atlas Obscura

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Mechanical Riverfront Kingdom on Druid Hill

An unusual art exhibition in a suburban yard is designed to awaken the souls of those flowing by.  


In the congested traffic along a prominent Decatur thoroughfare, commuters may notice an unusual garden of giant metal sculptures, and a man playfully encouraging them to wake up from their lulled complacency. According to John Clark Ashton Cornelius Farmer, the exhibition’s sculptor and designer, the commuters are part of the “Mechanical River,” and his garden, towers, and metal throne are all part of his Mechanical Riverfront Kingdom

Ashton has been creating giant metal sculptures in his yard since 1989, when he welded his first metal man, Adam, from scrap iron. Since then he has dedicated his efforts to building art that captures the attention of commuters. Over time, his installations grew more daring and now include two-story towers such as the Sky Saw,  designed to cut a hole in the sky (so we can access the other side of consciousness). Nearby,  Sky Stitcher is designed to heal any hole creating negative consequences. Visitors are invited to sit in the metal throne that overlooks the Mechanical River. 

The interactive sculptures that fill Ashton’s front and back yards are meant to evoke reflection and stun people out of their routine thought patterns—especially when combined with his morning performance art. Tours are available: Art, Music, and History on Druid Hill can be scheduled through Airbnb Experiences for people who want a deeper understanding as told by the artist. 

Know Before You Go

The sculptures are free to visit, but donations are truely appreciated. Ashton invites curious minds to explore the sculptures, including those in the backyard. Daylight hours only.

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