I love being an artist! But if I wasn’t doing this, I think I might be a travel agent, because I also love telling folks where to find the next attraction! And not many travel agents would send you to Watts, a part of Los Angeles that is famous for it’s violent gang activity, but it’s amazing where you can find beauty if you’re looking for it!
To my surprise, my girlfriend Natasha – a Los Angeles native, had never seen the Watts Towers. I saw them years ago with my then roommate Mark. As you can see, they are very ornate and intricate. But on closer inspection, you can see that they are decorated with TRASH!! It’s amazing!
Built from 1921 – 1955 by an Italian cement worker named Simon Rodia. When Rodia finally finished his masterpiece 34 years after embarking on this project, he simply gave it to his neighbor and moved away – never to return!
In Rodia’s absence, the towers fell into disrepair and in 1957 the order came down that the towers were to be demolished as they were deemed an eyesore. However, that order couldn’t be carried out because the new owner of the towers couldn’t be located.
Then in 1959 William Cartwright and Nicholas King discovered the towers and saw the beauty in them so began a campaign to save the towers. They ultimately bought the property and in 1975 donated it to the City of Los Angeles, who consequently turned it over to the California State Parks service in 1978, and in 1990 the Watts Towers achieved National Historic landmark status!!
So the moral to this story is, there is always beauty and value to be found – even among the “junk” and “dark places” of your world. But it takes a visionary spirit, like Rodia, to see the beauty there! And tenacity, like the 20 year effort of Cartwright and King, to get the rest of the world to see the beauty there as well.
But you already knew that with vision and tenacity…
All Things are Possible!