Monday, 1 April 2013

In Honour of Leonard Knight - Creator of Salvation Mountain

Leonard Knight, 2008
One of the best places to visit at the Salton Sea is Salvation Mountain, hand made by Leonard Knight. That is right, hand made. By himself. Every single line of paint, every added limb to the tree, every tile in the hogans, every hand made flower on the walls, every Jesus written on the side of the mountain. Using Adobe clay, hay, water, found objects such as tires and car , and according to Leonard, a lot of faith, he built this gigantic tribute to God, epitomised by the words "God is Love" standing out underneath a giant cross at the top of the hill beneath the azure desert skies.  

It is amazing how both religious and non-religious people's faces light up when they have had the chance to visit his creation out here in the Adobe desert by Niland and even more so when they have had the chance to meet this man. Everyone remembers the time "When I got to meet Leonard...". He has received visitors from all over the world, from all over the US, to Chinese, to Russians, Europeans, South Americans, you name a country, chances are someone from there will have been to see this site. After the film "Into the Wild" came out, the numbers of visitors increased also, as the hero of this true story, Chris McCandless, spent some time with him.

Sad to say, Leonard Knight is no longer onsite. He is turning 81 this year and living in a home in El Cajon. Living out in the desert is certainly no easy task, even with all the modern amenities. But if you don't have those and you sleep in a small trailer with no heating or air conditioning, not much in the way of medical access, it can take a toll on your health over time. He has been there since 1984.

Currently he is waiting for an operation on his cataracts so he can see again. A couple have stepped forward and are donating the money for this operation. Leonard is one of those unique and rare individuals that is just so filled with love, hope, creativity and a sense of wonder. Without a doubt he is loved by all who have met him and or seen his mountain. May he have a super quick recovery! And get better soon to be able to come out to his mountain again.

Please enjoy the photos I have taken at Salvation Mountain over the last five years.

With young fan

In 2008, this section was in better shape

Nothing Untouched

Inside the Hogan

Meeting at the start of the Yellow Brick Road

 Please visit the following websites for more information

The Official website of Salvation  Mountain and FB page:

And the Salvation Mountain, Inc, 501(c)3 non-profit group who are overseeing the mountain and legacy:

Please also visit my other blog on other nearby Desert Public Art spaces: