Ricardo Breceda: Accidental Artist, By Diana Lindsay (Sunbelt Publications, San Diego, California, 2012, 240 pages.)
Book Review by Dennis Moore
“For weeks, for months, I’d been hearing about this crazy-loco artist who does huge life-size metal sculptures of elephants, giraffes, and dinosaurs. Well, the moment we drove up to Ricardo’s compound off of the 215, I’d, too, begun grinning – I just couldn’t help it, I mean, it’s every kid’s dream to travel back in time and come face to face with gigantic mammoths and huge sloths. And all these metal sculptures looked so real and menacing. Then here came Ricardo himself to greet us. He, too, was all smiles and full of happy crazyloco energy.” – Foreword by Victor E. Villasenor
November 23, 2011 (Anza-Borrego)--Acclaimed biographer and historian Diana Lindsay, who has been writing about the Anza-Borrego region of Southern California since the 1960s, has written a book about the unlikeliest of artists in Ricardo Breceda: Accidental Artist. As the title implies, this book actually speaks for itself, as the book only came about due to an unfortunate construction accident to Ricardo Breceda.
An award-winning photographer, Lindsay has written a lavishly illustrated book about the metal sculptor who has created over 120 life-size sculptures in Borrego Valley surrounded by the magnificent Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. Lindsay recounts how Breceda has become a renowned artist in ten short years with no previous art training or even interest in art. The book features over 250 full-color photographs that depict the sculptures under many lighting conditions that bring these figures to life.
Breceda has taken a primitive welding art form of Mexico to new provocative heights by creating startling sculptures of astonishing artistry and craftsmanship.
Until a few years ago this gifted artist, dubbed “the Picasso of Steel,” was an injured construction worker and a boot salesman. None of his artistic creations would have occurred if not for an unfortunate accident that unleashed his hidden talent while his entrepreneurial skills prepared him to take advantage of opportunities that came his way.
If it is true that “a picture is worth a thousand words,” one need only view the full-color photographs provided in this book by the author that tells a story from whence Breceda has come. Born in central Mexico, Durango to be exact, Lindsay tells the story of how Breceda and his family embraced a culture that could bring about the type of artistry depicted in the metal sculptures that we now see in the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park.
This book is the fascinating journey of how this artist came to be. Inspired by science, history, nature, whim and fantasy, the amazing metal figures displayed throughout the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park have become a tourist attraction, drawing visitors from around the world.
While out on my deck and writing this review, my next door neighbor saw Ricardo Breceda: Accidental Artist prominently displayed and proceeded to share with me a slide projection of numerous photos that he had taken of Ricardo Breceda’s metal sculptures at Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. My neighbor indicated to me that a couple of the sculptures stood out for him, namely, Farm Workers, indicating that “Grapes must be harvested in timeless toil in the Di Giorgio Fruit Corporation fields,” as well as the iconic sculpture of a Mastodon, one of the ancient creatures that once inhabited this now arid desert region.
This is a book, in which the numerous full-color photos tell a story of an artist’s metamorphosis and his masterful depictions of prehistoric creatures and other startling forms. Ricardo Breceda: Accidental Artist, a book that I highly recommend.
Dennis Moore is a member of the San Diego Writers/Editors Guild, and the author of “The City That Works: Power, Politics and Corruption in Chicago. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org, or you can follow him on Twitter at: @DennisMoore8.