Friday, December 11, 2015

THE WATTS TOWERS

THE WATTS TOWERS

This week's arts and culture column is about what may be the tallest piece of folk art in the world: L.A.'s own Watts Towers.

The piece begins:

Mystery surrounds L.A.’s Watts Towers, starting with the name of the passionate visionary who built them — Simon Rodilla, Sabato “Sam” Rodia, Don Simon? — and continuing to his exact whereabouts from 1910-1918, the number of years he worked on the towers (33 or 34?), and the forces that drove him.

A self-taught laborer, Rodia was born in Italy in 1875 (1879?) and came to the United States at the age of 15.

He worked the coal mines in Pennsylvania until a mining accident claimed his brother, then made his way to Seattle where he married and had three children. The marriage collapsed in 1912, possibly due to Rodia’s then-active alcoholism. After working as an itinerant day laborer for several years, he migrated to Los Angeles and bought a wedge-shaped piece of land in the working-class neighborhood of Watts, near the railroad tracks.


READ THE WHOLE PIECE HERE.



1 comment:

  1. Hi, Heather. After reading the Watts Towers' story, we realize how obstination, work, and self-expression can make the difference. If one uses their potentialities in pursuit of such a work, despite their own difficulties, the world will be a better place to live in. Keep shooting great photos! Antonio

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