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Luther Broome

Tell us where you are from and how you ended up in the desert.

I was born in Los Angeles after WW II, and then transplanted to Orange County at age six. My interest in the Mojave Desert began as a teenager when traveling with parents on a family vacation. The desert has always been an attractive place in offering solitude and plenty of space. These two things are essential for my creative inspiration.


What was the transition like moving to the desert?

The move to the desert happened over a number of decades. Visits turned into longer stays, and then to living at a friends place while investigating properties to purchase.  I was traveling around the country for a while, but found myself missing the desert. I always knew that it was the destination for settling down in order to focus on my work.


You live in Wonder Valley , how did you land there out of all the other desert towns?

The land is inexpensive, the space is grand, and it’s really quiet. I’m hoping that we are several steps ahead of the over-gentrification of southern California.


Your studio practice consists of painting, drawing and audio work. Can you talk about how these all relate to each other?

I’ve always loved music and have always listened to music while painting and drawing. The analogue music studio is a fun experimental space for me, as are most of my painting and drawing processes. I see those three genres relating and overlapping very well.


How has the landscape played in to your work?

My first painting as a child was of the desert somewhere in New Mexico. I have since then created many series of paintings with the landscape in mind. Some works are of a more realistic nature, and some are more playfully cartoonish. The last couple of series became abstracted with an emphasis on textural surface. The horizon line is often present in the composition, and the implied space between here and there, is important.


If you had to choose somewhere else to live and set up your studio where would it be?

If I chose to live in any other place, it would be on the beach near an ocean. The ocean and the desert are similar visually in regards to space. I once did a series of small landscape paintings on wood blocks. The horizon line separated textured areas of blue and orange/yellow. If you turned the block one way, it became an ocean scene. If you flipped it over, it became a desert scene.


What or who has influenced your work?

I am definitely influenced by political and social satire in the arts. As a kid I loved the animation of Max and Dave Fleischer. Then came influence from the entire staff of MAD Magazine. Cartoonist Ralph Steadman, and then artists Phillip Guston, Ed Kienholtz, Kathe Kollwitz, and Rico LeBrun impressed me. I also appreciate the work of psychedelic artist Ric Griffin.


So many artists are moving to the high desert, do you have any advice for them?

Make sure you move here for the right reason – to appreciate the desert for its creative potential. 

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