Leonard Knight: Salvation Mountain

This is short visit to Leonard Knight’s Salvation Mountain near Slab City in the California Desert area of Imperial County. The structure is made of adobe, straw, and thousands of gallons of paint. It contains numerous murals and areas painted with Christian sayings and Bible verses.

Leonard Knight: Salvation Mountain. Niland, California, February 20, 2020.

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Salvation Mountain is the work of Leonard Knight. Knight lived more than 20 years at Salvation Mountain, much of that time in a small camper. The Korean War veteran built the mountain singlehandedly from tons of clay, straw and paint. He saw his creation as a tribute to God and a way to spread the message “God is Love”.

In the mid-1990s, the government of California had made several attempts to close Slab City and Salvation Mountain. It could be prevented because Leonard Knight’s work of art was now known beyond the state borders. The monumental sculpture was declared a National Heritage Site in 2002.

Salvation Mountain has been used as a backdrop in various movies, television shows and music videos, such as the video for the song “Birds” by the band Coldplay; the computer and console game Grand Theft Auto V, and Heidi Klum’s Germany’s Next Topmodel.

Leonard Knight was born in 1931 in Vermont, USA. Leonard Knight died in 2014.

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