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On a small triangular plot of land, in a suburb just south of downtown Los Angeles, stands one of the greatest pieces of outsider art—a set of tall towers made of steel, wire mesh and concrete, inlaid with broken pieces of tiles, glass, and pottery, and other found items. Its creator was a semi-literate Italian immigrant named Simon Rodia, who spent 33 years from 1921 to 1954 building this architectural marvel known as the Watts Towers.

Not much is known about Rodia’s early life except that he was born Sabato Rodia in 1879 in Ribottoli, Italy. He immigrated to the United States as a teenager and began working as a construction worker. Throughout his life, Rodia worked in rock quarries, logging and railroad camps, which allowed him to gain the necessary skills, as well as material, required to build Watts Towers.

Photo: Yevgenia Watts/Flickr


© Amusing Planet, 2020.



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