Thursday, February 16, 2006

Simon's Towers

This shot portrays one angle of the Watt's Towers built by Simon Rhodia when I visited with some of my family about a year ago.

"The sculptures' armatures are constructed from steel pipes and rods, wrapped with wire mesh, coated with mortar. The main supports are embedded with pieces of porcelain, tile and glass. They are decorated with found objects: bed frames, bottles, ceramic tile, scrap metal and sea shells. Rodia called the towers Nuestro Pueblo, meaning "our town." Rodia built them with no special equipment or a design, working alone with hand tools and window-washer's equipment. Neighborhood children brought pieces of broken glass and pottery to Rodia in hopes they would be added to the project, but the majority of Rodia's material consisted of damaged pieces from the Malibu Pottery, where he worked for many years. Green glass includes recognizable soft drink bottles, some still bearing the logos of 7 Up, Squirt, Bubble-Up, and Canada Dry; blue glass appears to be from milk of magnesia bottles.

Rodia bent up much of the Towers' framework from scrap rebar, using nearby railroad tracks as a sort of makeshift vise.

Other items came from alongside the Pacific Electric Railway right-of-way between Watts and Wilmington. Rodia often walked the right-of-way all the way to Wilmington in search of material, a distance of nearly 20 miles (32 km).

Rodia did not get along with his neighbors, who allowed their children to vandalize his work. Rumors that the towers were antennae for communicating enemy Japanese forces, or contained buried treasure, caused suspicion and further vandalism. In 1955 he gave the property away and left, tired of the abuse he had received. He retired to Martinez, California, and never came back. He died a decade later."

- everyone loves WIKI !


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