About Tumamoc Sketchbook

IN THE SPRING of 2011, Tumamoc: People and Habitats invited me to be artist in residence at Tumamoc Hill, “Horned Lizard Mountain,” a unique desert research preserve surrounded by urban Tucson.

My directive was simply to draw and engage the many hikers that walk the 1.5 mile road to the summit every day. Taking a cue from the early ecologists who came to the Desert Laboratory and defined study plots that have been monitored for over 100 years, I set up the Tumamoc property as a laboratory for mixing up a concoction of? art and science. The work of? artists and ecologists have close observation in common.

As time went on, and other artists joined me, I realized that artistic work done on site can help build a sort of “cultural equity” for a place, encouraging a sense of? stewardship in the community based on a mutual relationship with the surrounding landscape.

I designed this site web site to archive what I and others did here.

A reading of Humboldt’s Kosmos, enlarged my?notion of place-based art. Creating a multidimensional portrait of a place is like creating?a tiny cosmology. This task would require both the sciences and the arts to work together because a complete vision of the whole might be part scientific equation and part poetic metaphor.?It’s a task that unfolds endlessly, requiring the work of many individuals?and disciplines?together, across generations. Of course the tiny cosmologies we create all refer back to the larger one.

chair in desert
A place for long term ecological reflection

Paul Mirocha

I have worked as a professional illustrator, graphic designer, and photographer in Tucson for about 30 years now. A lot of kids picture books on weird animals and plants have my name on them, as well as science text books, adult novels, nature writing, and interpretive museum exhibits. You can find out more about it at my web site: www.PaulMirocha.com. Illustration is my full time job. My personal work is mostly in secret sketch books. This one is going public.

??Paul Mirocha

Paul Mirocha, photo by Eric Magrane

To read more on Humboldt, see this article by Laura Walls, “Introducing Humboldt’s Cosmos”