Trevor was born in Canada and raised on a sailboat in the South Pacific and Caribbean. Then went back to Vancouver for High School. Shortly after graduating, he moved to Australia and lived in Melbourne and Sydney. His love for the laid back lifestyle and epic surf kept him away from home for 15 years. There he studied photography and graphic design to end up shooting for many publications and fashion brands. At Christmas last year he relocated back to this side of the globe, to Los Angeles.
HAIR: BRI ORO @bri_oro
MAKEUP: VANESSA BELLA @vanessasbellamakeup
THE FIRST MOUNTAIN
After Leonard's balloon refused to fly, he decided to leave the area. Forever trying to promote what was burning so deeply inside of him, Leonard decided to stay one more week to make a "small statement" before he left for wherever his van and his faith would take him. Armed with half of a bag of cement, he fashioned a small
"I was just going to stay one week. It's been a very good week" L.Knight 1996
As his monument grew taller and taller, he would pack old junk he found at the dump onto the side of his "mountain," fill it with sand and cover it with cement and paint. As cement was hard to come by, he would mix a lot of (too much) sand with it. Leonard's mountain grew and grew - 30, 40, 50 feet and more. It was the same familiar patchwork of colors emblazoned
"I used to spend half a day at the dump to find half a gallon of paint of which only half was usable." L.K.
One day after about four years of work, with the instability of all of that sand undermining it's structure, the mountain fell down into a heap of rubble, sand, and weak cement. Instead of being discouraged, Leonard thanked the Lord for showing him that the mountain wasn't safe. He vowed to start once again and to "do it with more smarts."
THE SECOND MOUNTAIN
Leonard had been experimenting with the native adobe clay and had been using it on other parts of the mountain. Over the next several years, he rebuilt his mountain using adobe mixed with straw to hold it all together. It evolved into what it is today. As he fashions one part or another with clay, he coats it with paint. This keeps the wind and the rain from eroding it away. The more paint, the thicker the coat, the better and stronger it becomes. People come from all over with donations of paint. He uses it very liberally. Leonard estimates that he has put well over 100,000 gallons of paint on his mountain.
After ten years of relentless toil, Leonard and his mountain began to gain some notoriety. It was especially noticed by the Imperial County Supervisors. You see, Salvation Mountain as it had come to be known, was at the entrance of Slab City (the Slabs), a community of "snowbirds" (visitors who live in the northern United States and Canada and travel to the warmer southern states for the winter) and local squatters occupying the old dismantled and abandoned Fort Dunlap World War II Marine training base. Only the concrete slabs of the barracks and Quonset huts remain. Because the land was government owned and because so many people were camping there without paying taxes or rent, the county thought it would start collecting a user fee. They also figured that there might be a conflict with a "religious monument" at the entrance to a county campground. So in July of 1994, their solution was to hire a toxic waste specialistto come out and take samples of the dirt around Leonard's Mountain to test for "contaminants." Even before the test results were back, they cordoned off the area and labeled it a "toxic nightmare." The tests predictably came back claiming high amounts of lead in the soil. The county petitioned the state of California for funds to tear down the mountain and haul it away to a toxic waste disposal dumpsite in Nevada.
Local residents, and snowbirds alike, did not see that as an option for Salvation Mountain and their friend Leonard. Hundreds and hundreds of signatures were collected on circulated petitions. Thanks to the help of many old and new found friends, Leonard dug soil samples from the very same holes as the "expert" had used and submitted them to an independent lab in San Diego. No one was surprised when the new tests reveled that there were no unacceptable levels of any contaminants -- especially lead -- at Salvation Mountain. The mountain stands today as a reward to the determination of many and the tenacity of one.
The Mountain continually evolves. The blazing year-round sun, the wind, and the sand take its toll on the painted surfaces of Salvation Mountain. Patching and painting are constant necessities. Paint colors are limited to the paint that gracious people donate to him. He uses the "ugly colors" for patching and toughening. He saves the "pretty ones" for top coats and final decoration.
Leonard sees the finished Museum holding many pictures and artifacts from the beginnings of the mountain, the struggle with the county Supervisors, and his art and creations up to the present day. One of his favorites is a plaque that he received from Senator Barbara Boxer of California documenting a May 15, 2002 entry into the Congressional Record of the United States proclaiming Salvation Mountain as a national treasure.
It is Leonard's hope that his message of LOVE will be seen all over the world and that all people everywhere will show more love and compassion for their fellow man. He truly believes that love is the answer to a peaceful and harmonious existence.
Leonard will probably never be finished with Salvation Mountain. His imagination is limited only by his ownperception of the capabilities and powers bestowed upon him by God.
Leonard passed away February 10, 2014. The Mountain is now maintained by caretaker Ron (pictured in the last frame of this set) He wakes before the sun every day to paint the mountain and maintain it's beauty. He is the caretaker of the mountain and a family of cats that have taken up residency in the Hogan. The Mountain can only continue to be a source of inspiration through passion and love, and respect for the mountain. Donations are what keeps the mountain alive.
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