Like grandma used to say, one man's trash is another man's treasure. Check out these amazing roadside attractions all made from found and discarded objects. We promise, it won't be a "waste" of your time. Ba dum tss!Less
The world-famous Watts Towers, as the well-known story goes, were built by Italian immigrant Simon Rodia with simple hand tools and raw determination— merely because he “wanted to do something big.” He succeeded. These mosaic-adorned steel structures are indeed a sight to behold.
Over twenty years in the making, Cheri Pann and Gonzalo Duran's Mosaic Tile House in Venice is a multicolored, multi-media folk art masterpiece. Apart from ceramic and glass tiles, all manner of found objects including tire rims, pot lids, and metal pipes have been used to adorn this magnificent abode.
Some grandmas spend their golden years baking cookies and knitting sweaters. Grandma Prisbey, on the other hand, built a village complete with wishing wells, colorful pathways, and whimsical sculptures, all using found objects—especially bottles. Lots and lots of bottles. Not to mention more than a few creepy doll heads. Check it out.
Come for the tacos, stay for the folk art! Tio’s Tacos restaurant owner Martin Sanchez flexes his artistic muscles by transforming a humble Mexican eatery into a fanciful folk art paradise made of discarded materials. Cherubs cavort with robots and other strange figures amidst a garden of fountains and faux fauna. Definitely worth a day trip out.
In 2000, Elmer Long welded a metal tree bedecked with colored class bottles to catch the California sunlight on Route 66. That tree turned into an enchanted forest made, not only of metal pipes and soda bottles, but an airplane propeller, a parking meter, a old cash register, and other everyday objects turned magical by Elmer’s welding wizardry.
Neon-colored metal and plastic monoliths make a sculpture garden of discarded electronic parts. Created by Kenny Irwin, Jr. and housed on his beautiful estate the scenes tell a story of a futuristic Christmas celebrated by giant robots and extraterrestrials. Try to plan your visit for the winter season when Kenny puts on a spectacular light show when night falls. It's located in a residential area so it's best to stay as low-key as possible when driving through.
This outdoor gallery of work by renowned sculptor Noah Purifoy is pure magic. The sprawling desert landscape serves as the perfect backdrop for the weathered, industrial aesthetic of Purifoy’s structural, found object masterpieces. Need we say more?
The artist of the same name was Mexican born, but raised in California. His inspiration to become an artist started with his daughter who at 6 years of age, requested a giant T-Rex after watching "Jurassic Park." So his first masterpiece turned out to be a 20-foot T-Rex. From there this self-taught artist has created his own land of wild creatures. You can view the sculptures on your own or send an email and request a personal meeting.
If you're in the mood for dystopian scenery and art, head out to East Jesus. Appropriately, it is not too far from the gigantic swampy lake called Salton Sea. Half commune and half refugee camp for struggling artists, East Jesus is an avant-garde place filled with eclectic pieces of art created by different people. See the artwork at no cost but they will gladly accept donations to continue their existence in this barren region of Imperial County.
Old footwear may seem tasteless, but it's pretty classy compared to what it replaced. This shoe fence's precursor was a shoe tree which in turn was the replacement for the Underwear Tree. After the tree burned not once, but twice, this shoe fence became the new custom for passersby.