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Watts

Pictures by QT Luong

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In the middle of the century, Watts was a prosperous middle-class town. Simon Rodia, an Italian immigrant, had dreams of founding a religiously-grounded community center. The sculptures resulting from Rodia's solitary labor of over 33 years (1921 to 1955) are considered to be one of the greatest work completed by a single individual using simple hand tools and cast off materials (discarded broken glass, sea shells, generic pottery and ceramic tile). The Watts Towers are a complex set of 17 separate sculptural pieces. Two of the towers rise to a height of nearly 100 feet. The sculptures are constructed from steel pipes and rods, wrapped with wire mesh, coated with mortar, and embedded with pieces of porcelain, tile and glass. Nowadays, Watts is mostly an African-American community that was at the epicenter of the riots of 1965 and 1992, and where the nearby upscale art center somehow feels out of place, yet some of the tiny houses are attractive microcosm of the American dream.

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Overview of the Watts Towers. Watts, Los Angeles, California, USA ( color) Watts towers and moon. Watts, Los Angeles, California, USA ( color) Wall and Towers, Watts Towers. Watts, Los Angeles, California, USA ( color) Whimsical Watts Towers. Watts, Los Angeles, California, USA ( color) Gazebo and tower, Watts Towers. Watts, Los Angeles, California, USA ( color) Tower seen from Gazebo, Watts Towers. Watts, Los Angeles, California, USA ( color) Simon Rodia  Watts Towers. Watts, Los Angeles, California, USA ( color) Detail of Watts Towers, built over the course of 33 years by Simon Rodia. Watts, Los Angeles, California, USA ( color) Detail, Watts towers. Watts, Los Angeles, California, USA ( color) Detail, Watts towers, a masterpiece of folk art. Watts, Los Angeles, California, USA ( color) Close-up showing found objects used to decorate the Watts Towers. Watts, Los Angeles, California, USA ( color) Close up showing green 7-up bottles used in the Watt Towers. Watts, Los Angeles, California, USA ( color) Moscaic and tower, Watts Towers. Watts, Los Angeles, California, USA ( color) Tour guide and group in the Gazebo of the Watts Towers. Watts, Los Angeles, California, USA ( color) Detail of Watts Towers showing a heart. Watts, Los Angeles, California, USA ( color) Three towers and hearts, Watts Towers. Watts, Los Angeles, California, USA ( color) Simon Rodia Watts Towers and moon, late afternoon. Watts, Los Angeles, California, USA ( color) Mural, Watts Towers Art Center. Watts, Los Angeles, California, USA ( color) Sculpture, Watts Towers Art Center. Watts, Los Angeles, California, USA ( color) Mosaic Detail, Watts Towers Art Center. Watts, Los Angeles, California, USA ( color) House and frontyeard, Watts. Watts, Los Angeles, California, USA ( color) Mural, Watts. Watts, Los Angeles, California, USA ( color) Highway interchange, Watts. Watts, Los Angeles, California, USA ( color)

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