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Ricardo’s Wild Gift

March 8, 2010

Metallic (e)motion

It’s not easy not pulling off the 215 when traveling to or from visiting my family in Perris. This is because of Perris Jurassic Park, the wild kingdom of metal sculptor Ricardo Breceda. There, dinosaurs of every shape and size — many of them enormous — cavort, claw, flap and tumble … as if on the verge of escaping their roadside holding pen. When Paul and I first moved to Riverside in 2006, we stopped in and had a look around. The work was remarkable then and we were sufficiently amazed. Stopping in today, however, amazement turned to awe. Because, while in 2006 the sculptures on display were mainly of the saurian variety, today there are all manner of creature brought to twisting life in steel. Breceda’s art has taken on a new dynamism that makes cold welded steel seem like flesh, muscle, hair, all in wild motion. Seeing the horses, above, did you immediately think you were looking at metal sculpture? I didn’t think so … follow me …

Freeway fierce

Driving past a screeching carnivorous dinosaur, held back only by flimsy chain-link, becomes run-of-the-mill for daily travelers on the 215 north. But it’s not for lack of expressive energy on the part of this big lizard … how dare we ignore his menacing pose?

Mixed roadside group

Stately mythical creature, Pegasus, meets stunned moose, meets glowering gorilla, meets assorted thunder lizards … creatures of all types mix freely in Breceda’s steely wonderland. Some friendly — mostly not — they all have personality to spare.

Man and beastly

There are people here, too, but they share the same sense of drama as the menagerie that surrounds them. Sporting a horned headpiece, loincloth, and a mean six-pack, the fellow beside the massive Stegosaurus raises his arms like the chief he seems to believe he is. Next to him a saber-toothed tiger mauls a silver and rust-furred bison, completely unaware of his command.

Prickly and demonic

Who knew a creature so infernal could look so peevish? From the look on this demon’s face, it’s as if someone offered fly boy a flute of champagne, then handed him a mayonnaise jar of tepid André. Either that or this is his impersonation of Dame Judy Densch in the film ‘Notes on a Scandal’.

The big sleep

Need a lawn ornament? Need one as tall as your house? Although the statement made by having this napping campesino on your property might not be entirely PC, this is a major statement piece. Add the 15-foot-tall saguaro and snarling pole-cat and that statement becomes gargantuan.

A rust-mottled cephalopod

Back to our creature feature: this flailing octopus is convincing with its rusty, mottled surface. The sinuous tentacles and lid-free, remorseless gaze, are appropriate too, for this undersea predator. Although land-locked, this guy’s sinister charm is fully intact.

Which way to The Pacific?

Also far from their ocean habitat, various sea creatures wait for a ride home to the shore. Arching dolphins, a coldly grinning shark and another (larger) leggy octopus, dream of The Pacific, or at least a backyard with a nautical theme and a pool.

Surreal details

Being in the presence of so many creatures, many of them enormous, begins to feel surreal. And, details present themselves that lend to the feeling of altered reality. A tail-less bronto with what looks like giant bullet holes (or, are they flowers?) in its side seems somehow beautiful, like a fragment of an idea, but rendered hugely. Other smaller dinos cower under this incomplete behemoth’s shadow adding to the discomforting scene.

Torso with tracery

Like some interrupted project of Dr. Frankenstein’s, this gleaming torso seems to be made of pieces scavenged from other projects. The odd proportions and scale-like stitchery remove the possibility of desire from the viewer’s mind, so who is it for? I love this piece but can’t think of where I would put it that wouldn’t incite the townsfolk to take up their pitchforks and torches.

Man-made creation

Another ‘stein-made man stands about 15-feet tall behind barbed wire, his wild head of hair trying to mesh with the bare branches of the tree behind. He seems both stern and confused and his more rudimentary look indicates that he was one of Breceda’s earlier pieces. I sense that this was a transition piece, one whose creation helped propel the sculptor to delve deeper into dynamism and drama. Witness the muscle articulation on the shoulders.

From an earlier era

Like the prehistoric predator he depicts, this green giant is from an bygone era. Breceda pointed out to me that this was one of his earliest pieces and it shows. The shapes and overall form of this T-rex are elementary, crude even, and they don’t have the sense of movement and articulation that his current pieces boast. I enjoy this piece immensely in spite of this (or maybe because of this), and the green coloring adds to the feeling that this was an artistic experiment.

Meeting Ricardo Breceda today was inspiring and his enthusiasm for his work was infectious. Working for 13 years, he’s elevated his metal sculpting art into something wildly beautiful. Originally from Durango, Mexico, Breceda only began sculpting after an injury on the job. Once he realized he had this wild gift, he considered sculpting his true calling and never returned to his old life in construction. Now, with a acreage-wealthy patron in the Anza-Borrego desert area, he’s filling the land with his creations, the plan being to populate the site with at least a 100 of them. Click here to learn more about the project. Breceda’s been profiled in the Riverside Press-Enterprise, as well as interviewed by the garrulous Huell Howser at the Anza-Borrego installation. To learn more about Ricardo and his work click here. Prices for the work at his Perris Jurassic Park workshop and sculpture garden range from $300 for a small piece, to upwards of $25,000 for a 30-foot T-Rex. Well worth the money, I think!

7 Comments leave one →
  1. mattisalomaki permalink
    March 8, 2010 4:49 pm

    Fan of the metal sculpture, particularly the octopus and last dino with green patina. Great find! Matti

  2. March 8, 2010 6:58 pm

    While enjoy kitschy yard art as much as the next guy, well probably more. I do consider these metal sculptures beautiful. I also especially like the green T-rex but it would be hard to pass up one of those lovely metal horses.

    • reubix1 permalink*
      March 8, 2010 7:00 pm

      Hiya, you should see them in person; they’re really stunning! Thanks for commenting

  3. March 8, 2010 8:15 pm

    That is some wild gift. Creativity like this is such an intriguing mystery. And I think your instincts on that torso were right on. It’s beautiful!

  4. Sheeba permalink
    May 14, 2010 6:12 pm

    Had no idea we had such places here in Riverside…def want to take a closer look…just awesome!

    • reubix1 permalink*
      May 17, 2010 5:14 am

      Let’s go! You’ll be amazed, and maybe bring something home for the backyard…


  1. Year One « Rancho Reubidoux

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