The Psychedelic Desert, According to April Seelbach

One of the countless reasons I’m happy to be back home in Southern California is because of its proximity to one of my favorite natural landscapes–the desert!

I grew up exploring various deserts throughout the West with my parents. As I’ve mentioned in another post, my dad spent his youth in Saudi Arabia, dirt biking amongst the dunes and native bedouins surrounding the American oil towns there. So naturally, I spent a lot of time there as a kid. It was easiest to travel to Anza Borrego within San Diego county…and after all, SoCal is a desert. It feels like my natural habitat. So coming home to warm nights and unbearably hot days here in San Diego (that I actually can bear…I love hot weather) has been wonderful!

It’s interesting to see how the desert has become so romanticized over the years. Full disclosure, I’ve never been to Joshua Tree, but areas pretty close–but the idea of just going there has blown up (and honestly I’m pretty interested), and I’ve witnessed Instagram account after Instagram account filled with JT images or houses that people have taken up residence in. And to my friends who actually rock climb there, who scoff at the “glampers” and folks just in it for the trend, there’s a sense of ownership. The desert, whether it’s Joshua Tree or not, is a special place. It will always feel like that for me too.

So when I found April Seelbach’s account as I wandered down another rabbit hole (Instagram is a trip), it brought back that feeling. April layers digital patterns over her own photos of the desert from road trips she’s taken, and her work is decidedly retro. Her artwork reminds me of how the desert and nostalgia are somehow inherently connected (or maybe that’s just the romantic in me):

A psychedelic saguaro.

A self portrait.

Dusk? With some digital sun flare.

April also has a separate Instagram account filled with her beautiful, totally retro road trip photos here!

Thoughts on the desert?

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