Who’s behind the anonymous High Desert street art? Did we find the culprit or a copycat?

Seen on the corner of Cottonwood Avenue and Ranchero Road on Friday, March 29, 2024 in Hesperia.

Is there a “Banksy of the High Desert?”

Recurring street art of suit bodies topped with media heads- megaphones, televisions, and cameras- have increased in number around town. You’ve likely seen this High Desert art on electrical boxes and in washes, but the question remains — who is the behind the turn on, tune in, drop out street art in the High Desert?

The High Desert community wants answers, and we may have them. The Daily Press has encountered multiple inquiries about the art and the topic sparks a point of interest via online discussion board communities as well.

The street art witch hunt has been narrowed down to local artist “King Nobody.” The Hesperia man is on a mission that reaches beyond electrical boxes.

“Change is what I’m trying to be the catalyst for, especially in the desert,” he said. “The idea behind the art is to change the channel.”

The uncovering

Jerrold Ridenour in his home on Thursday, March 28, 2024 in Hesperia.

The King did confirm that he is in fact the artist behind the original media suit concept but “can neither confirm nor deny” whether he’s the mastermind behind the street art.

“There are a lot of copycats out there,” King Nobody confessed, “and it’s very possible that someone could’ve seen my art at a show, made it their own, and took to the streets with it.”

The artist admitted that he’s more flattered than upset at the copycat street art.

“It makes those ugly boxes look better anyway, brings some color to the monochrome town,” he added.

King Nobody doesn’t really need the streets for vandalism because his home is a safe space for creative explosions across a multitude of mediums. The open concept floor plan and ample outdoor space invite plenty of room for creation. His “Mind the Media” counterculture concept can be seen on posters, in print, spray painted, and doodled all around his artist haven of a Hesperia home.

“My Mind the Media concept represents the lack of culture that has existed up here for so long. We live in a ‘bedroom community’ where people come just to rest their heads in between travel,” King Nobody said. “I’ve lived up here since I was 1 and I’ve seen the absence of community, the absence of art, and I’m trying to change that.”

Change is slowly sweeping the High Desert like a light, preliminary gust that rustles juniper needles before a windstorm.

According to King Nobody, a post-pandemic era welcomed a recent influx of new residents, drawn to the area by affordable housing and higher quality air and water. Now is the perfect time for King Nobody to incite conversation through art, and it seems to be working.

King Nobody’s art

Jerrold Ridenour in his home on Thursday, March 28, 2024 in Hesperia.

King Nobody has been creating art in the High Desert for over 20 years.

His artist career hit new heights with the recent “Multimedia Vaudeville” show last December where he displayed over 200 art pieces across 13 different mediums. The show was in conjunction with Union 3 Space and sponsored by Wise Cracks Records, a new record shop that’s “bringing in a slice of culture to Hesperia/ Oak Hills.”

When asked about his inspiration, King Nobody noted that “the breadth and openness of the High Desert is a huge inspiration.” He compared it to “creating in a white room,” where the inspiration really has to seep in. You have to take the time to really find the beauty, forcing you to slow down and search in the spaciousness. He finds inspiration in the clear skies, clear air and water, and the snow on Mount Baldy in the distance.

King Nobody relocated to Los Angeles for a few years but said he felt artistically oppressed and was never able to get into the “groove of his artistic flow.” When inspiration hits in the High Desert, on the other hand, he’s able to execute immediately thanks to the resources and numerous art studios in his backyard, many of which he built from scratch using recycled wood and sheet metal.

The High Desert environment helps him foster and maintain a constant flow state, he said.

“There are no high rises. You don’t see man’s impression on the city from your backyard other than your neighbor who you’ve known for years,” King Nobody said.

High Desert artist community involvement

As an effort to bond the High Desert community and change the lack of culture and absence of art, King Nobody will be hosting communal art gatherings monthly.

“This has been in the works for such a long time, I don’t even remember when the idea was first birthed,” he said. “It’s time for the High Desert to start exploring its creative side.”

King Nobody and his entourage of High Desert creatives hope to host monthly art collectives showcasing art and music starting in May.

Attendees can expect to participate in a conglomerate of crafts and mediums like learning how to vinyl DJ, painting, and utilizing whatever other resources are available at the event to create. They also hope to host art-related games to keep the collective meet-ups lighthearted and inclusive. No artistic experience is necessary to join.

“In fact, the less experience the better,” King Nobody said. “We want everyone to be able to express their creative side, from moms to high school kids, city council members, and so on. Whoever hears about the spontaneous event is meant to be at the event.”

Most of the collaboratives are expected to be held at Union 3 Space, with possible collaborations at the Tipsy Cactus. Follow his Instagram @kingnobodymusic for more art updates.

Talk of “nothing to do” is all too common among long-term residents and new High Desert transplants alike. The Daily Press is dedicated to helping our readers move out of monotony and into a more exciting residence, bounded by new friends and fun things to do. In the breadth of the desert, artistic possibility is expansive. If readers want to highlight what’s going on in the High Desert, email [email protected].

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