Salvation Mountain and Venice Beach

The art of travelling and travelling with art

The close of the trip is near and today I want to focus on two very special places. A journey will have manifold encounters with people, places, the wildlife, nature and your inner self. A trip as long as ours will teach you to live the moments while they are happening. The tomorrow will come early enough when you wake up. Things in life can be simple, if you take them as they are without overcomplicating it. We planned certainly a fair bit, but we let as well the days surprise us and very often they did exactly that in a very positive way. Probably one of the catch phrases I will remember the most, is coming from this sweet face next to me, saying with respect in her eyes: that was better than what I would have thought! Surprisingly easy and not surprisingly  sweet.

This brings me to the two special places of this post – first Salvation Mountain which is in Niland / California. You will drive through deserted land on your route to the Mexican border. You will cross a federal border control on your way. So make sure you have your travel documents with you, which I did not. Despite my hispanic look, being well tanned and not having shaved properly, I was nevertheless still allowed back in. But wait till the next election is over and things might have changed. But probably I was still protected by the love of good, which you can feel at this special place in the middle of the desert. As the artist Leonard Knight said: “Love is universal. Love God, love one another, and just keep it simple!”. Often one would hope that this simple and powerful message was resonating more in a world where isolation and separation seem to be the flavour of the day. The colours will enchant you and as you think of the work that has gone into this piece of art you understand the connection to god can be powerful. We know now salvation can be found in the midst of the desert.

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The second place is the tile house in Venice beach. The artists themselves were showing us around. The work began 22 years ago when they moved into this place and started with decorating the bathroom. They were hoping they could build their art studio at the back end of their new land and while plans were drawn up wanted to make the ugly house a bit prettier. Cheri and Gonzalo definitely did that and it evolved to a composition that can only be described as unique. Whether you think about Gaudi or Hundertwasser as a comparison, please just forget about it and think about them and their journey. Having worked on it for such a long time, you still feel the passion for every detail and the next step. I asked Gonzalo, what he plans to do when he has laid the last possible tile in this place? His answer was simple – buy a new place and continue. You can spend hours looking at the mosaics that are laid by Gonzalo, while you appreciate the beauty of the tiles that are produced by Cheri. They are a symbiosis creating, breaking and putting together tiles to a new powerful picture. Our snapshots will only give a hint to the beauty of the place. The true secret is every visitor will take another detail home with him or her. It will stay yours to keep and to treasure. Our visit was a true journey through 22 years of growth and beauty. One day at a time and today is the day!

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2 thoughts on “Salvation Mountain and Venice Beach

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