Wednesday, January 10

There was no rioting in Watts today, but there was an art field trip.

This is across the street from Watts towers...just to give an example of the type of neighborhood I spent my afternoon in. My art class ventured into the shady LA neighborhood in order to observe the work of "outsider artist" Sabato Rodia. I shamefully admit that prior to this I had no clue what Watts Towers actually were, or why they are so famous; I always assumed they had something to do with the riots during the 1960s. As it turns out they had nothing to do with the Riots, though I'm sure there was some rioting by neighbors when the towers went up.
Sam Rodia, an Italian immigrant who earned a living as a construction worker, spent 33 years constructing the towers in his spare time. He worked alone, using minimal tools, no scaffolding, and a multitude of found objects to adorn the steel and mortar structure. When asked why he did it he simply said, "I wanted to do something big and I did it." The structure was finished in 1954 and in 1955 Rodia moved to Martinez California where he lived until his death; never returning to the towers he worked so hard to erect. It's interesting to see what results from the impetus to create something, just for the sake of creation.

Some of the crockery Rodia used as decoration, if it were in mint condition, is estimated to be worth thousands of dollars by various modern collectors of ceramics.

This is his signature and impressions of all the tools he used to build the towers.

1 comment:

lisa d said...

aren't they a sight to see? my grandma used to live in watts, way before the scariness.