“Travel is one of the hardest obstacles for the artists,” says Jim Smart, a professor at CSUSB-PD and retired Artist in Residence Vice President in Mojave National Preserve. “One day, I drove 500 miles and I never left the preserve; you can drive forever.”
Interview with Jim Smart https://soundcloud.com/andrea-castaneda-34524980/proffesor-smart-interview
Evan Bracken 2018
Evan was 12 years old when he first picked up a camera while camping at the Rocky Mountains of Colorado
Christine Hauber 2017
In 2012, Christine traveled alone in an RV for three and a half years photo to photograph he people of America and their work.
David Nelson 2017
In May 1983, David started shooting sports as a freelancer for magazines.
Lu Ross 2017
Lu's work has been published in many newspapers and articles such as Premiere OC-Orange Coast Magazine, Hobie Hotline Magazine, Laguna Beach Independent Newspaper, Harboring the Good Life – Dana Point’s visitors’ guidebook, San Juan Capistrano Treasures – visitors’ guidebook, The Orange County Fine Art Photography Fair, and the Santa Barbara News Press
Shelly Smith 2017
Shelly is a 2002 Fine Art graduate from the Columbus College of Art and Design.
“I usually don’t really like photos of landscapes but Evan captured things in such a way that made me change my mind about landscape photography.”
“Nowhere is Magical” was James’s first exhibit in the Mojave National Preserve. Because James liked the exhibit so much, he plans on attending as many exhibits as he can at the Mojave National Preserve artist in residence program. While James did not purchase any art, he believes that donations are essential for programs like this to exist.
There are 17 artists in the artists in residence program.
The artists vary from photographers, sculptors, painters, and poets.
Bracken says he develops his skills and explores new ideas by capturing Mojave Desert.
For him it is a 4-hour drive. On those drives, his car is packed to the maximum capacity with equipment and camping supplies.
“I’m figuring out everything I might need and not run into ‘oops, I forgot this… oops, I forgot that…’ and I think it [restoration of the Ox Ranch] would establish a location where artists can keep some of their stuff and make a [temporary] home,” says Braken.
When asked about the Ox Ranch, Bracken explained it will create a home base for the artists to help further their goals.
“At this point I barely need a map to know where I’m going in the desert. I actually camped out for every single night that I was there,” Bracken noted with pride.
Artists donate some of their profit on their art sold through exhibitions to the restoration of the OX Ranch.
One way the exhibitions are promoted through The Desert Light Magazine, the official magazine of the Mojave National Preserve.
Braken and Smart believe that the Mojave is a underutilized preserve that has a lot to offer.
“There are so many different kinds of rock formations. There’s the sand dunes, they have mine shafts, and old buildings and farms, so there’s lots of things to take pictures of,” says Jim Smart, who gives 100% proceeds from his sold art to the program.
Mojave AIR Website https://www.mojaveair.org/
Raquel Roman, a frequent Kelso visitor, is a big advocate of the restoration of the OX Ranch.
“The OX Ranch is important because it allows artists to have a place to stay while creating their art. Whether it is photography, paint, sculptures, or poetry, artists are given the chance to focus on their work with the help of the OX Ranch. The OX Ranch benefits not only artists, but consumers of art as well.”
Roman contributed to the restoration of the OX ranch by giving a donation. She is a firm believer that more people should donate to ensure the OX Ranch opens for artists.
The Mojave National Preserve AIR accepts donations of any amount on their website
The artists in residence program can provide an opportunity for artists to showcase the beauty of the Mojave Desert and can one day inspire future generations to preserve our National Parks by restoring the OX Ranch, a part-time home for artists.