Massive Marfa Mural Celebrates Western Epic ‘Giant’

The ‘Giant Marfa Mural’ by John Cerney depicts film director George Stevens and actors James Dean, Elizabeth Taylor, and Rock Hudson, all captured in iconic poses from the 1956 movie “Giant.” Artist John Cerney collaborated with with singer/songwriter/musician Michael Nesmith to incorporate music in this roadside piece. – Photo: John Cerney Murals

Western lovers now have another reason to plan a trip to Marfa, Texas. Marfa was the filming location for several western films, including the beloved epic “Giant.” It’s now also home to a massive, stunning mural created by artist John Cerney.

Cerney’s mural sits on the side of Texas’ Highway 90 and can be seen by travelers who are making their way to Marfa and Wyatt Ranches, where much of “Giant” was filmed. The mural depicts the stars of the film, Elizabeth Taylor and James Dean, as well as several set pieces taken from the movie set.

Cerney, a California-based artist, reached out to the Marfa Chamber of Commerce in 2018 to ask about creating a mural. Every year, he reaches out to a different city and offers to donate an art piece to the community.

When asked about his reasoning for choosing Marfa, he explained in an interview with OA Online that he had an idea of a mural and that it was “perfect for Marfa” because “Giant” was filmed there.

This might be Cerney’s first mural related to the film “Giant.” However, it’s not his first experience creating a piece of art that features James Dean.

Cerney says that he has “always been a fan” of Dean. He’s clearly a fan of “Giant,” too. The artist described it as a “big grand splash” of a film.

These days, people come from all over to visit Marfa and take pictures of Cerney’s mural. For the most part, Marfa residents seem to appreciate the mural’s presence and what it represents. Some are a bit skeptical, though, and worry that it is “Disneyfying” their town.

Those who want to check out the mural and decide for themselves can see footage of it in this video here. To follow Cerney and keep up with his latest art projects, fans and enthusiasts can follow him on Instagram or visit his website.