Saturday, August 09, 2014

art is for all poetry is for everyone

we just returned from an evening with b. c. and j.  after dinner b. and i grabbed a couple of beers and drew up chairs before his laptop where he uploaded pics from their recent travels in so. cal.  below palm springs to the salton sea and a little beyond.  i am utterly fascinated by this area, its artifacts and its inhabitants.  the salton sea is the end of the line.  or its start, depending on your point of view.  once the promise of the playland of the rich, famous and those wanting to be both the salton sea was built up as a resort in the 1950s.  for a little while the rich, famous and those wanting to be both did come to the resorts of the salton sea.  then agricultural run-off and other poisons choked the sea with chemicals that caused massive algae blooms which in turn caused massive fish kills.  who wants to boat, swim and recreate on a beach that is littered with the bleached bones of fish and birds?  the stink of the sea is striking.  the resorts closed down leaving only their husks standing today.  the denizens of the various communities of the salton sea, like bombay beach, are a hardscrabble folk who like to be left alone.  or so it seems for when b. showed me the photos he took of bombay beach and other areas there was not a soul to be seen.  then again the average daytime temperature was about 100 F.  so they were probably sensibly staying in their air-conditioned double-wides.

and then the area around the salton sea attracts creative types of all sorts.  leonard knight [1931-2014] is such a type. knight constructed and painted the great salvation mountain.  it is a visionary work located near niland.  i have a deep appreciation of tramp art and self-taught outsider artists.  knight felt the love of god so keenly he was compelled to paint his message in the desert.  what is admirable and remarkable about knight's art is its affirmation.  this is an art that does not sake forsake the horrors of the world but centers on the themes of love.  repeated thru this work are the words GOD IS LOVE and also simply LOVE.  there is one section where knight wrote GOD IS LOVE and below that I LOVE YOU TOO.  the poetry and art of leonard knight gives me hope that maybe humanity might survive.  knight is a proof that you don't need a degree or permission even to be an artist and poet.  you just need the vision and desire to create.

i am in awe and b. took great photographs of salvation mountain.  there were other roadside attractions and art exhibits b. showed me.  the salton sea and the surrounding area are on my bucket list to visit before i shuffle off this mortal coil.  when i get depressed i can cheer myself up by thinking i can buy a double-wide and park it in bombay beach, fish die-off notwithstanding, and live in the heat making strange.  


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