Favorite Artists and Art Installations in the Mojave
One place that I go to for artistic inspiration is Palm Springs, CA and the desert surrounding it. There is something magical about the expansiveness, colors, and natural landscape that appeals to many. Visual artists over the years have built their art practices out in the desert.
Today, I will share my 5 favorite artists + one blogger, who live in the desert, inspire or creatively captures those desert vibes for me. From Los Angeles to the Palm Springs area, you can make it out there in just under 2 hours.
About 7 years ago, I came across the work of artist Andrea Zittel through an exhibit of her work at MOCA, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles. I love her thought provoking installations which explore the way we live and interact within our environment. Although, she technically lives in Joshua Tree area outside of Palm Springs, she is one of the first artists that I truly admired/made me think from the desert art scene.
According to her website, "Zittel explores core questions of How to live? and What gives life meaning? through an examination of social norms, values, hierarchies, as well as the creation of new systems and structures for living." It is her living structures nestled into the desert landscape and experiments on how to live that I enjoy the most.
Zittel believes that "What makes us feel liberated is not total freedom, but rather living in a set of limitations that we have created and prescribed for ourselves.” -I know my toddler feels that way and I can relate;) Making art within a set or limitations can be freeing!
Below are her experimental structures for inhabiting and experiencing the desert landscape.
On my recent visit to Palm Springs, I discovered the work of L.A. based artist, Douglas Aitken, whose work is at intersection of public art and architecture. His most recent work, Mirage, caught my attention and was a part of a larger outdoor art exhibit, Desert X, which included a series of installations.
His installation, Mirage, a ranch-style home covered by mirrors from every angle. It is limitless, reflective, sculptural and ever-changing appearing on the horizon as a 3D form that continues. From all perspectives it offers the viewer both an image and experience of the landscape.
Below is another artwork from Desert X, a freestanding-wall, by artist Claudia Comte, whose optical work combines painting and sculpture. It's movement and illusion of depth are interesting.
Lily Stockman is a Joshua Tree based oil painter whose artwork captures the colors and moods of the desert. Her paintings are large textural color fields that conjure images and desert vibrations.
Along with painting, Lily with Hopie Stockman, are designer/co-founders behind Block Shop textiles, a textile line hand-printed in Bagru, India. I love their work, the simplicity, the shapes, the colors. In the future, I hope to attend one of Blockshop textiles amazing hand-printing workshops in the Palm desert.
A rug from their home collection.
Here is one more look at Comte's free-standing walls as captured by Kelly Golightly, a creative and blogger based out of Palm Springs.
She epitomizes Palm Springs lifestyle accompanied by gorgeous pics of all the desert has to offer from architecture to art. Her writing truly captures the playfulness and glamour of Palm Springs life! I enjoy her posts on Palm Springs architecture and Modernism the most.
I will leave you with one last photo of Salvation Mountain below. Salvation Mountain is a large scale artwork made from bales of hay and painted stucco. The artist, Leonard Knight invites the viewer to to explore and find salvation through the experience of the artwork.
Present in all of these installations and photos is the playful expansion and contraction of life in the desert.
Any recommendations for artists living in the Palm Springs area that I should seek out?
HI, I'M HILARY.
This is where I share inspiration for a hand-crafted lifestyle from natural dye methods, textile surface techniques, and the best of contemporary California design. I love dreaming up products for a sustainable art filled home. I offer workshops to inspire you to live your best life by connecting you to your creativity and others. I hope to meet you in person at one of my current craft workshops for creatives like you! Join my tribe to receive your first free video on Shibori folding with me.
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