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A Chat with Metal Sculptor Ricardo Breceda

Breceda talks how he got started and which pieces mean the most to him
James Mattil / Shutterstock

For twenty years, Ricardo Breceda has been adding a touch of magic to the desert landscape with his metal sculptures. Towering animals, mythical creatures—he has created over 500 pieces and no two are alike. In our January issue, we put the spotlight on two of Breceda’s most popular sculptures in Borrego Springs. Here, we continue our chat with the artist.


How did you first get into sculpture work?

My daughter had just watched one of the Jurassic Park movies and had become fascinated with dinosaurs. She asked me to make her a large-scale T. rex. I had no artistic experience and I didn’t think she was that serious, but she asked me day after day when I’d make it. So I researched how to do it and made it happen. It’s 20 feet tall and 45 feet long.


You had no artistic experience?!

No, none at all. I was a teacher, and so I guess I would dabble a little bit helping the kids get creative, but nothing much. That T. rex was the first one I made and I set it out along the highway. Shortly after, it was bumper-to-bumper cars lining up to see it.


And people are still blown away today.

People are still so excited to see them and so kind, it’s amazing. Plus, I don’t charge anything for people to come out to the studio to see them. Art should be free for all. If you want to buy a piece, then you can. But for people who want to see it and enjoy it and have a good day—mi casa es su casa.


How do you decide what each piece will be?

I really just create whatever I want to do. Of course, if it’s a custom order then they’ll have requirements. I like capturing all of the details. When I’m in the process of making the sculpture, I always have a picture of the animal in my mind. Where are the details? Where are the muscles? You have to have it in your mind so you can do it with your hands.


Is location important to you?

I try to place my work where it will look the best. I think about photography a lot and how my work will look under the moon and the stars and constellations. I want people to have the best view possible, so I consider what will give them the best experience and photographs.


Ricardo Breceda / T. rex

A metal T-rex sculpture by Breceda in the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park

Eric Laudonien / Shutterstock


What’s the most challenging part?

To put a soul in there. I want my work to say something and leave an impression on people—make them feel something.


Do you have favorites?

The one that I made for my daughter will always be my favorite. But all of the pieces I made in my first three years of work are really special to me. I don’t sell any of those pieces; they are my babies.

A 350-foot long Serpent sculpture by Breceda on display at Galleta Meadows

James Mattil / Shutterstock

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