This has been a place on my list I've been wanting to visit out west for awhile, but it has always been so far off the direction I am going. On my way back from Arizona this time I decided to take a new route home with Roman my pup, to stop at some of these places I've never been. A much longer drive but definitely worth it. Salvation mountain which is located in California near Slab City and the Salton Sea was one of the most surreal and inspiring visits I've experienced in awhile. I thought I'd be the only one there on a weekday especially since whenever I mention this spot in the desert still so many have never heard of it, but to my surprise there were many visitors passing through that day as well. The artist Leonard Knight had built this mountain as a tribute to God and his gift to the world with its simple yet powerful message, "God is Love." The mountain not only shares biblical and religious scriptures throughout but also showcases a dreamlike land of colors inside and out with trees, flowers, hearts, clouds, and other objects that can't help but make you stop, smile, and feel the love if your religious or not.
The story behind the making of the mountain is incredibly inspiring for an artist like myself who is on a journey of faith and constantly trying to figure out where the next day will lead me in my own creations and dreams, and over come any struggles and fears that stand in the way. When Leonard got to this site he thought, "I was just going to stay one week. It's been a very good week" - L.Knight 1996
"Forever trying to promote what was burning so deeply inside of him, Leonard decided to stay one more week to make a "small statement" before he left for wherever his van and his faith would take him. Armed with half of a bag of cement, he fashioned a small monument. One thing turned into another - days turned into weeks and weeks turned into years. Each day, Leonard would put a little more cement and a little more paint on the side of a forgotten riverbank. One day after about four years of work, with the instability of all of that sand undermining it's structure, the mountain fell down into a heap of rubble, sand, and weak cement. Instead of being discouraged, Leonard thanked the Lord for showing him that the mountain wasn't safe. He vowed to start once again and to "do it with more smarts."
And that he did. With three decades of work put into this mountain while living out of his truck on site, it has now become a monument of love for us all to see. Knight had passed away a couple years ago at age 82. Salvation mountain will never be completely finished as it was home to his imagination and perception of the capabilities and powers bestowed upon him by God. Although there are many volunteers that pass through to help clean the grounds, donate, and re-paint parts of Salvation Mountain to keep the art preserved. It was Leonard's dream that his message of LOVE would be seen all over the world and that all people everywhere will show more love and compassion for their fellow man. #inspiredalways.
"If somebody gave me $100,000 a week to move somewhere and live in a mansion and be a big shot, I'd refuse it. I want to be right here." -Leonard Knight