Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Watts Towers

Having a rough day at work? Needing some artistic inspiration? Go to the Watts Towers to see what a little man with a huge dream can accomplish. Simon Rodia was a tiny man, less than 5 feet tall, who worked by day as a tile man and/or a construction worker. But what he built at night is amazing! His 17 structures, two almost 100 feet high, were all built with found objects. The green 7-Up bottles and blue Milk of Magnesia bottles are easy to identify throughout his artwork. They would have been readily available, tossed from the trains that passed by his lot. He also used those train tracks and his slight bodyweight to bend the rebar forms into shape. I can't even imagine!

I love that his stove - used to cook food and melt glass - is also beautifully decorated with tiles and sparkly rocks, as are the wedding cake and cupcake towers added as he started performing marriages in his chapel. You could almost have a scavenger hunt looking for his boot, corn cobs, hammers, horse shoes, faucet imprints, and the brilliant ladder he built into a tower to aid his work.

Apparently, the neighbors were not thrilled with his 30+ years of singing Italian opera in the wee hours of the morning, and the strange things he was building. His family left him, knowing he had a laser-focus on his artwork. The city thought his work was unstable and a hazard. Simon himself eventually walked away, having had enough. Luckily, his Nuestro Pueblo remains in spite of these obstacles.

Simon wanted to do something big, and he did it. He built "our town" for us. What do you want to do?!

Click here to go to their Web site.

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