Desert Dreams , 2023
90 x 63 x 1 in (h x w x d)
Mixed Media

"With even the slightest upset, detachment soon followed. I didn’t lose sleep over anyone,
and I was too restless to be tied down. The grass didn’t even have time to grow around my feet before I was planning my next escape – whether it was to another state or out of someone’s life.

Back in Scottsdale, I got word of a job opening in Tucson and raced down Interstate 10
for the interview. During the trip, I, of course, had to visit my love: Saguaro National Park West.

The desert’s beauty enthralled me.

There is beauty in life thriving in adverse circumstances. The desert does not
accommodate all, but what does survive the harshness is a type beauty that manifests in dreams.In the harshest environment, the majestic Saguaro refuses to surrender. What little it has to survive nourishes it, and all tiny glimmers of life are miraculous and luminous as under the sun as they are under the moonlight. I have never felt so in love. Not like this.

Lust that we feel for others, or even things, means there’s the desire to take. Love exists
when we desire to give. In the desert, all I wanted was to give her my time, my love, and my attention. Through the wind, the rattles of the snake, the flapping of cactus wren wings, and in the rugged solace of the Sonoran Desert, I heard a song that my heart fully understood. I felt embraced in the presence of nature in the raw – and it was pure joy.

Mediocrity cannot exist in nature. Sacred Earth needs nothing in its way. When I stand in
the middle of sand, mesquite, cacti, and the desert sun, I realize my smallness in the universe as well as the regrowth of the passion, the fire in my heart. I belong nowhere. I belong here.

We’re all linked to so many stars, so many particles that make this vast universe around
us; and the stardust of the universe lies within all of us. The question inside me has long been where I actually might belong, but the universe tells me to look within. The stars tell me we're all connected to one another no matter where we are. The desert tells me I am home wherever and whenever I feel comfortable to remove my "armor" from Iraq.
In this quiet moment, I see myself in full battle rattle, weighed down by body armor,
ammunition, my weapon, Kevlar, switchblade, K-Bar, and supplies. As I look into the depths of the desert night, a veil of moonlight falls upon me as I put down every piece of Iraq weight that I carry. I feel an almost unbearable lightness; it's alarming, frightening. I'm used to rolling about life like a tank, covered with plates of psychological steel and ready to fire. Here, I stand vulnerable, emotionally naked. I’m ready to keep marching ahead into the unknown toward home. I walked out alone under the stars, spending midnight with the desert."

- M.B. Dallocchio, "The Desert Warrior"

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