The art of Coachella

The art of Coachella
Office Kovacs, 'Colossal Cacti', 2019. Photo by Lance Gerber. Courtesy of Coachella.
Leading lights  -   Artists

Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival has become a sensational and sometimes controversial festival cum Instagram haven in the music and arts world that people love and love to hate. At a whopping $400-plus for general admission tickets (and that’s for one weekend), the two-weekend festival often takes on an elitist feel that brings together celebrities, influencers, artists, fashionistas, and regular ole’ lovers of music and art. This year’s music lineup has been packed with some of today’s most-loved artists including Childish Gambino, Lizzo, and Ariana Grande. In between sets and amongst the Woodstock-meets-ultra-high-fashion get-ups, you can find a lot of art, too.

Ahead of the festival’s second weekend, here’s the artists and collectives new to the festival that you can see (whether it be in person at the festival or through Twitter and Instagram) in Coachella Valley:

Debo Vabo

‘H.i.P.O. – Hazardus Interstellar Perfessional Operations,’ Debo Vabo. Courtesy Debo Vabo.


Consisting of artists Derek Doublin and Vanessa Bonet, Debo Vabo has brought together a team of over 200 to create their Coachella installation titled H.i.P.O. – Hazardus Interstellar Perfessional Operations. The eight-story rocket towers over the festival grounds and took a year to complete. Inside, you’ll find hippopotamuses, the product of a 2011 LA Art Walk, that ‘run’ the rocket. Debo Vabo aims to create works that ‘confuses, confounds, and captivates,’ so H.i.P.O might be just the ticket.

Francis Kéré

Francis Kéré, ‘Sarbalé ke’, 2019. Photo by Lance Gerber. Courtesy of Coachella.


Kéré has gained international recognition as an innovative architect combining traditional building techniques with new materials and engineering. For Coachella, Kéré introduced Sarbalé Ke – 12 colourful towers that create the feel of baobab trees, which are native to Burkina Faso, a West African villiage in Gando and where Kéré was born. Sarbalé Ke means ‘the house of celebration’ and that’s exactly what the baobab tree is for Kéré and his home village.


Newsubstance, ‘Spectra’, 2018. Courtesy of Coachella.


This group of creators have a 15-year career that has focused on design and animation. Their design for Coachella this year, Spectra, won the Architect’s Newspaper 2018 Best of Design Award in the Lighting – Outdoor Category award as well as a gold prize at the International Design Awards. The seven-story immersive installation offers a spiral 360-degree observation deck tinted by a spectrum of coloured glass that offers a reprieve from the intensity of the festival.

Office Kovacs

Office Kovacs, ‘Colossal Cacti’, 2019. Photo by Lance Gerber. Courtesy of Coachella.


Led by Andrew Kovacs, Office Kovacs presents Colossal Cacti this year at the festival. The geometric, colours renderings of the desert’s famous plant vary in height from around 24- to 52-feet tall. The groupings of faux cacti offer shade to festival-goers. Reflectors that bring light to the cacti at night take the place of the pointed spikes one might usually find.

Poetic Kinetics

Poetic Kinetics, ‘Overview Effect’, 2019. Photo by Lance Gerber. Courtesy of Coachella.


Bringing together nature, science, and discovery, artist Patrick Shearn, founder of Poetic Kinetics, creates experimental kinetic sculptures. Their work for Coachella, called Overview Effect, features a larger-than-life astronaut that seems to have seen better days. Its suit and helmet emit an array of colours while animatronics allows the astronaut to move in human-like ways.

Sofia Enriquez

Sofia Enriquez, ‘MISMO’, 2019. Photo by Lance Gerber. Courtesy of Coachella.


Mismo, Entiquez’s contribution to Coachella bears a number of her mainstays as an artist and painter including paisley motifs, colourfields, and texts. Her use of paisley is a way to comment on the interconnectedness of everyone, from all walks of life, of all kinds. Enriquez’s 3-D renderings of the material can be found all around the festival grounds and their bold colours make them stand out from their desert home.


The following are ‘returning favourites’:

Balloon Chain

Do LaB

Raices Cultura 

DKLA Design

Peggy Noland