The design language for the 2019 HWY 62 Art Tours began with a concise collection of historic photographs and graphic references from the area. This included documentation of the Giant Rock airport, alien conventions, and scanned local print publications of the 1960s.

I continued research with a study of similar art events around this country and in comparable communities around the world: as Joshua Tree is a satellite escape for Los Angeles I looked at events held in and around places like Mexico City, Berlin, Montreal, New York, Stockholm, etc. I examined the execution of designs and immediately saw a clear commonality of bold minimal/modern design and layout that employs a healthy amount of visual space. In short, what I saw were spacious layouts presented in a style that suits the visual and cultural vernacular of the location. So that’s what I did.

I snapped a few photos of our beloved barren desert and applied treatments to mirror photography from the ‘60s / ‘70s. I studied type – both from local high desert publications and well known print samples of the era (books, album covers).

Ultimately the artwork is a reflection of some ideologies that were prevalent when this area was growing and becoming populated and is presented in a design language that is current to the climate of arts communities around the world.

The major components of the project for 2019 were the catalog and the map. With a farther reach, the peripheral promotional materials – postcards, posters, flyers, stickers – play a strong role to support the visual identity of the event.  

The cover of the catalog – being the visual rockstar of the event – uses a photograph of the landscape whereas the map employs an old photograph of the night sky. Since the catalog is really the foundation of the event (visitors use it to select artists they’re interested in exploring) it was adorned with landscape photography as a visual representation of starting from the ground. And as the nature of the event in this particular geographic place is very much a wild adventure in the sparse expanse of the Mojave, it is overlaid atop the image of stars insinuating an adventure into the unknown. This starry imagery is also used with a bit of a nod to Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – which parallels the sense of oddity and adventure. These images used together encompass the physical place occupied by artists in the Morongo Basin: they reflect the reason we are here and not to be overlooked is the fact that they are the things that tie us all together.

HWY 62 Open Studio Art Tours is an annual event providing access to artists across the Morongo Basin/Joshua Tree high desert area. The event is one of the largest appealing to international visitors to the Joshua Tree area which accommodates over 4 million tourists annually. It is the second largest Art Tours event in the state of California - second to San Francisco.