Yesterday was a sad day for fans of folk art, as Leonard Knight passed away at the age of 82. Chances are that you don't know who Leonard Knight is, as his name was not a household name. But, chances also are that you know his work, which is one of the largest free-standing folk art projects in the United States and perhaps, the world - Salvation Mountain. Salvation Mountain is many things to many people - but what it is and what is was is art. And as art, it was Leonard's life's work, and his way of spreading his message - "God is Love". While Salvation Mountain was Leonard's life's work, the truth of the matter is that for the last two years, the mountain was out of his care, as he had been placed in a convalescent home.
While friends of the mountain have stepped up to continue Leonard's work - and his dream, the desert is an inhospitable place, and I for one, wonder, how much longer the mountain will last, especially now that Leonard is gone. I for one, would highly recommend that any of my readers interested in Salvation Mountain plan a trip sooner rather than later, in order that they may see the mountain as it was, and as Leonard intended it to be. I'll always remember meeting Leonard for the last time in 2010, when above all else, I was impressed by his humble demeanor and love for all. Even though it was late in the day, and he was covered with the blood of Salvation Mountain - paint and plaster, he took the time to greet all of us, discuss life, his work, the desert, and his faith without reservation. To me, you could ask no more of any artist than an honest discussion of their work, which he provided not just to me; but to all on a daily basis with much love, and clearly, the desert around Niland will not be the same without him.
Directions: If you're headed out to Salvation Mountain, navigate yourself to Niland, California, and head East. The Mountain is located a short distance from the town, and is on the outskirts of Slab City. Also, if you are are headed out to Niland, be sure you visit the water towers above Salvation Mountain, as they feature some interesting art as well.