In all the debate about hydraulic fracturing/fracking, voices of the roughnecks–those who do the actual drilling–are seldom heard. In this audio piece, artist Streeter Wright speaks about his experiences working on the rigs in eastern Utah and western Colorado. Wright’s voice is accompanied by the music of Alex Koshak.

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And here’s an audio slide show of Wright’s art from the rigs that we featured in 2009.

Artist Streeter Wright has been paying his way through Colorado College for the past five years by working as a roughneck on the gas rigs in Western Colorado. The schedule is grueling: 14 days of 12 hour shifts followed by 14 days off. While he’s working, Wright takes pictures of the people, tools and machinery on the rigs, which he then transforms into detailed pencil drawings on small pieces of vintage notebook paper he found in his grandparents’ storage locker. The resulting 34 drawings shown here have the look, feel and attention of a naturalist’s sketchbook discovered in an old trunk—a guidebook to the culture of the rigs. In this audio-slideshow, Wright walks us through a world that few outsiders ever visit.


4 Responses to So You Wanna Be A Roughneck?

  1. joyce cheney says:

    Interesting story and beautiful drawings. Can we please see some of Wright’s other artwork, too?

  2. Gail Smith says:

    Excellent perspective! Most Coloradans have no idea about the dangerous work that these rough-necks do day-in and day out.


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