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Artists devoted to radical individualism pit themselves against the elements deep in Southern California deserts. A pervasive mysticism draws to it those desperate to connect- whether it be to themselves, others, or the world around them. Iconicity revels in the sweeping expanses of raw beauty that inspire so many disparate souls to push themselves to the brink of their creativity. Here the spirit of the Wild West lives on, as off-the-gridders and renegade sculptors carve out an existence that challenges what it means to be free.
Fringe communities cling to the inhospitable terrain with heartening tenacity. Slab City, nestled in California's aptly named Badlands, is host to around 150 squatters driven by poverty or the desire for a more authentic way of life to make their home on literal no-man's land. Not far off is East Jesus, converted by range runners into a feral sculpture garden. Then there is Bombay Beach, a living relic from the prosperous 50's. Located on the shore of the ...