East Jesus

Charlie Russell - Slab City

The archway that is the entry to the sculpture garden was built
collaboratively by Charlie Russell and Royce Carlson.

Founded in 2007 by artist Charlie Russell, East Jesus began as a humble collection of two art cars transformed into captivating sculptures. Over time, it evolved into a sprawling 30-acre outdoor museum, attracting artists, musicians, and free spirits from around the world. The community embraced a philosophy of creativity from waste, repurposing discarded objects into thought-provoking and sustainable artworks.

Resident artists and contributors like Royce Carlson, Mirabelle Jones, Angelina Christina, Ben Wolf, and many others left their mark on East Jesus, transforming it into a kaleidoscope of mixed-media sculptures, assemblage art, murals, and site-specific installations. The ever-changing landscape reflected the diverse visions of its creators, inviting visitors to reimagine the potential of discarded materials.



In late August 2023, Hurricane Hilary, the first tropical storm to hit Southern California in 84 years, brought unprecedented rainfall and flash flooding to the region. The East Jesus community, was ill-prepared for the deluge that changed a dry wash into a raging river slowly undermining the soil that supports it. Residents were forced to evacuate as the flash flood made roads impassable, leaving wreckage throughout the community. The resident watched as the flash flood began to tear the dirt from under their feet at the edge of their community. It slowly removed several feet of land and part of a road that was used to gain entrance to East Jesus.

East Jesus has faced challenges before, and its unwavering spirit has always prevailed. This time will be no different, as the community rises from the mud and rubble, rebuilding their desert oasis one recycled piece at a time, and continuing to inspire and captivate all who venture into this unique artistic realm.

Here are some photos taken in the East Jesus Art Garden.

The patio at East Jesus
The patio has a good view of the Chocolate Mountains and the gunnery range
used by the Navy and Marines for aerial bombing and live fire aerial gunnery practice.

It may bite
It may bite.

Robots in action
Robots in action

The Mammoth
The Mammoth “Definition of a grievance” 2009
Blown out car tires, dimensions variable by Joe Holliday

Sunken House
Fame Retardant, Sunken House 2011
Found wood, found metal, paint; dimensions variable

The sculpture garden

Cinnabar Charm Charles Russell

1971 Volkswagen / Westfalia Campmobile. 2001-2010 Completely decorated and illuminated inside and out, this mobile bar/altar/temple/office/home has traveled the US extensively and has been lived in off and on since its creation.

Walter the Buried Bus
Walter the Buried Bus - painting by Christina Angelina

The other side of Walter the Bus
The other side of the bus "Walter"

Flip Cassidy's Wall of TVs
Flip Cassidy's Wall of TVs

TV Sets as Art: Flip Cassidy's Cynical Commentary on Media Saturation On the edge of East Jesus, a desert oasis where media's influence seems distant, artist Flip Cassidy has constructed a remarkable sculpture made entirely from found and collected TV sets and computer monitors. This towering wall of technology stands as a silent, cynical-tongue-in-cheek commentary on the pervasive and looming presence of media in our lives.

Cassidy's work takes the very tools of media consumption – the TV sets and monitors – and repurposes them into a work of art. Most of the screens have had their circuit boards harvested for use in other projects, leaving behind the empty husks of technology. Yet, in their assembled form, these castrated devices seem to "complain silently to the desert and its passersby about how our society has decided to use it."

The sculpture is a work in progress, with Cassidy continually adding to the breadth and height of the wall as he collects more discarded screens. This ever-expanding installation serves as a physical manifestation of the media's encroachment on our lives, even in the remote and off-the-grid setting of East Jesus.

Visitors to this desert outpost are confronted with this towering commentary on the saturation of media in our world. The sculpture stands as a thought-provoking piece that challenges us to consider our relationship with the screens that have become so pervasive in modern society.

Art being created

Ongoing Maintenance and Sustainability

East Jesus has always embraced a philosophy of creativity from waste, repurposing discarded objects into thought-provoking and sustainable artworks. This ethos continues to guide the community's efforts in maintaining and rebuilding the site.

The Chasterus Foundation, a non-profit organization formed to carry forward the mission of East Jesus after the passing of its founder Charlie Russell, is dedicated to preserving the site "for the enjoyment, expression, and inspiration of artists of all mediums."

The community remains committed to operating as sustainably as possible, employing solar panels for energy, composting human and food waste, and utilizing recycled and repurposed materials in their artistic endeavors.

While the road to recovery may be long, the indomitable spirit of East Jesus and its commitment to sustainability and artistic expression will undoubtedly guide the community through this challenging period, ensuring that this unique desert oasis continues to thrive and inspire for years to come.

More on the area

Salvation Mountain, East Jesus and the Kinetoscope
are all located in Slab City near Niland, CA, USA. 

The Salton Sea | Salvation Mountain | Kinetoscope | Airplane Man of Slab City


Related DesertUSA Pages





Share this page on Facebook:

DesertUSA Newsletter -- We send articles on hiking, camping and places to explore, as well as animals, wildflower reports, plant information and much more. Sign up below or read more about the DesertUSA newsletter here. (It's Free.)

The Desert Environment
The North American Deserts
Desert Geological Terms


Enter Email:

Shop desert store



Copyright © 1996- DesertUSA.com and Digital West Media, Inc. - -