Happy travelers escaping Temecula’s hustle and bustle along Highway 79 South may have noticed some unique apparitions to emerge on the rural landscape leading to the mountain town of Idyllwild and Palm Springs retreats.
Nestled in the rolling hills and meandering trails near Vail Lake is the rustic ironwork of Borrego Springs artist Ricardo Breceda.
“We love the outdoor arts and this beautiful corridor offers a wonderful showcase of the arts,” said Vail Lake Resort owner and land developer Bill Johnson.
Johnson, who has long had a vision to feature a Butterfield Stage theme that pays homage to the region’s founding days, found the perfect talent to bring his ideas to life.
Breceda, known for his dramatic, sometimes whimsical sculptures that have drawn thousands to his work, has already started to dot the roadway with wild horses, Native Americans and stagecoaches – with plans to do more.
“My daughter went to the movies to watch “Jurassic Park.” One day I opened by big mouth and asked her what she wanted for Christmas and she told me she wanted a life-sized T-Rex. She was not joking,” Breceda said, laughing.
For a year, Breceda worked to craft the pre-historic creature. It ended up being 20-foot wide and 45-feet long.
“I didn’t want to disappoint her,” he said.
That initial labor of love has since become a life’s passion for Breceda who has attracted worldwide attention for his work that includes bold, life-life sculptures of historic and mythical beings – including a 350-long sand serpent.
Johnson was so impressed with the work that he installed Breceda as artist in residence at Vail Lake Resort.
“The beauty of art touches everyone and now it is accessible to the tens of thousands (of motorists) who travel that highway each day,” Johnson said.
Working with recycled metal, Breceda estimates that each piece weighs roughly 150 pounds and is generally completed within two and a half weeks.
Breceda said that all of his pieces are unique and are the work and inspiration of the vision that lies in his head.
In addition to the cowboy-themed creations, dozens of raptors and reptiles and T-Rex sculptures are currently on display as part of the Halloween celebrations planned throughout Vail Lake Resort.
Both Johnson and Breceda said that plans are underway to expand the art corridor.
Breceda said: “The sky’s the limit when you create things with your hands.”
To learn more, visit www.vaillakeresort.com.
Kerri S. Mabee can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow me on Twitter @kerrimabee.