Desert beauty: artists dig up inspiration in the Mojave

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An old baseball in the desert, an example of the objects left behind. Photo by Brian Calvert.
An old baseball, an example of the objects left behind in the desert. Photo by Brian Calvert. (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

You might think of the Mojave Desert as empty and inhospitable. But homesteaders and miners began living in this dry, vast space east of Los Angeles in the early 20th Century.

And it’s always called to outsiders and artists like Noah Purifoy, an Angeleno who lived in Joshua Tree and created 10 acres of desert sculptures from junk.

Independent producer Brian Calvert went to the Mojave to visit with some current artists and desert-dwellers who have followed in the tradition of re-creation.