The theme for my final GCSE Art and Design assignment was ‘Ordinary and/or Extraordinary’. I was given the exam paper just prior to going on a family holiday to the desert in Southern California and I decided that as Borrego Springs (the place that we visited) is such an unusual and extraordinary place, I would use it as my starting point in developing my ideas and investigations based on the theme. Borrego Springs provided me with both an intriguing place to develop some visual ideas as well as allowing me to discover and explore the theme from the perspective of the ‘natural world’ within the desert.
Borrego Springs has been blessed with an extraordinary portion of nature’s attributes and this has distinguished this area as one of the most unique and intriguing places to visit in America. There are no traffic lights in the town and the night time lighting is kept to a minimum to protect the extraordinary magnificence of the starlit sky. This project has been very personal to me as Borrego Springs has been a huge part of my childhood.
I began by looking at the work of Armand Vallee. A large amount of his work is both for sale and is exhibited at a local gallery in the town centre. I collected some postcards from the gallery to help with my ideas. I was particularly struck by Vallee’s work which is colourful and inspiring yet refreshingly simple. His desert landscapes are an unusual combination of shape, pattern, texture and colour which really appealed to me as I felt they portrayed abstracted scenes full of life and vitality. This prompted me to take some of my own observational photographs of the surrounding area and whilst doing this I discovered the amazing, unusual metal sculptures by local sculptor Ricardo Breceda. I love the way his many sculptures integrate into the surrounding landscape, which is an integral part of their effect. I even considered the possibility of a creating a sculpture for my final piece.