Last week, my fellow residents (Shea Hembrey, Jed Ochmanek and Andrew Milward) and I had a show at JTAG. It was a great opportunity to organise and diseminate our work in progress and get feedback.
Local journalist, Hilary Sloane interviewed all of us and wrote a very insightful article about the programme for
San Bernardino County’s Arts Connection which can be found here:
Details of how to apply for next years residency can be found here.
Test prints and map
Constructivist works in progress
Constructivist works in progress
Jed Ochmanek at work, photo Frederick Fulmer
Shea Hembrey with a piece of his work-in-progress, photo Frederick Fulmer
Jed Ochmanek’s Abstract paintings on aluminium, photo Frederick Fulmer
On my last weekend before the show I went to see Billy and Julie Mitchell again. They had family visiting so it was a great opportunity to get some different perspectives on life on the ranch. They are the only family left ranching full time in the valley where there was once 16. It’s not a easy way to make a living and perhaps never was but Billy explains more about how the increased controls over federal land by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) restrict the use of the land where they hold the grazing rights. An increasing nearby population also brings more recreational OHV use that has caused injuries to cattle by OHV users going too fast through the canyon. All the children and grandchildren I interviewed spoke fondly of growing up on the ranch and the great love and respect for their dad and Grandad but realise how tough it is to make this lifestyle a profession. Clarissa and Ian made to long trip from North Dakota where they have moved to take advantage of the recent oil boom. In the clips below Billy speaks about the history of ranching and the ‘tortoise wars’ with the BLM and Brandy tells me about her family and her thoughts on the future of the ranch.
Road to Rattlesnake Ranch
Spotting cattle out on the range
Spotting the cattle on the 29,000 acre ranch
Brandy and Cally asleep
Newspaper clippings feature Billy and Serenity at community rodeo events
Mementos and family photos
Clarissa, Billy’s grandaughter
Brandy with her newest grandchild
Brandy with her daughter Clarissa and her new grandson
Billy teaches his great grandaughter, Cally how to rope.
Travis Puglisi outside his home near the northern boundary of the park
Travis lives out near Covington flats at the boundary of the park. This is a short clip from a much longer interview where he talks about life in Joshua Tree and what it means to him.
Transition Joshua Tree has gone from strength to strength in the last three years, initiated by Jill Giegerich and now involved many members of the community. Jill, another ex-Los Angelena and artist is now putting all here creative and problem solving skills into hi-desert permaculture. Permaculture is at the heart of the Transition Movement. It is a sustainable land use design system that works with nature to ensure a healthy and abundant environment for many generations to come. It particularly offers solutions to desertification and dryland ecosystems. Like other Transition movements they envision, promote and facilitate the transition to a more resilient, sustainable way of life, organising the community to develop an Action Plan based in this case on the desert climate, away from fossil fuels. When I spoke to Jill she showed me around a new permaculture project she’s working on and told me what permaculture means to her.
Jill Giegerich, founder of Transition Joshua Tree
These images are made on the edges of Desert Hot Springs, a small town on the south west boundary of the National park. It is sometimes referred to as the Desert Empire. The population has rocketed from 2,700 in the 1970s to over 26,000 now. The town was founded by L. W. Coffee in 1941. Coffee chose the name Desert Hot Springs because of the area’s natural hot springs, due to the San Andreas Fault bisecting the area, one side has cold water, the other has hot. Alondside the spas there are trailer parks, golf courses and new residential developments, some suddenly halted in the face of the recession.
Palm Tree hybrid
Empty billboard glare
Eagle at the intersection
Desert Hot Springs City Limits
Cell phone tower as palm tree
Desert shrubs in headlights
Gun shop sign
I needed a haircut so I thought why not visit Wonder Valley’s finest, Jeff Hafler and his Beauty Bubble Hair and Beauty Museum and Salon. Jeff has over 2,000 pieces of hair and beauty memorabilia and everything is on display in his home salon and museum, which has now overflowed into two trailers next to the Salon. He hopes to establish a more permenant hair museum in the future in Palm Springs that will be open to the public.
Jeff in the Beauty Bubble Salon
More memorabilia in the trailer
Jeff outside one of the trailers that contain his hair museum