On a recent visit to the Watts Towers, I was reminded how they evoked something significant about the city that I grew up in and the eccentric, visionary spirit that has always been a part of Los Angeles culture.
I recalled my first encounter with the Towers as a young boy when my father brought me along as he and photographer Seymour Rosen were documenting the site. The towers had been crumbling and were in a bad state of disrepair and a group of concerned members from the architectural and design community were attempting to stave off the wrecking ball and fund their renovation.
Happily, their commitment to this cause won the day.
I recall the story about Rodia’s one way trip on the Red Line to the beach and walking back home, picking up discarded shards of bottle caps, glass and tile along the way to adorn his burgeoning spires.
How inspiring that a simple man of humble origin could dream so big, and do so much with so little.
I chose to paint a watercolor composition of this for our holiday card this year to honor those universal qualities.
Happy New Year!