You might have seen Salvation Mountain in music videos or in documentaries.
It attracts people.
Even for folks who aren't religious, this hill,
covered in half a million gallons of latex paint
and sitting in the middle of the sun blasted California desert,
this hill has something about it.
And it was the work of just one person.
Leonard Knight was a man who, he was kinda lost,
just cruising around trying to figure out what to do.
He discovered Jesus, so he had a mission,
and then he started doing things.
and he made a hot air balloon, like 200 foot,
sewed it all together with all these praises to God on it.
Brought it out here.
The desert ended up taking its toll on the balloon,
but he stayed and he built this mountain.
But you really have to look at it to get the big picture.
That sand hill, that way, shows exactly what was here.
Couple little straggly bushes and a flat hill of sand.
And Leonard built all this.
He added extra clay, hay bales, whatever it took to build this all up.
He just kept goin' and goin'.
He was going to dome the whole thing off.
And he never really thought of himself as a artist,
he more thought of himself as somebody just doing what he was doing.
He was a persistent dude.
This mountain originally fell after three and a half years of building.
He had a passion, and this is so beautiful.
28 years of dedication.
Try dedicating 28 minutes to something nowadays, realistically.
I think about that.
Leonard Knight had no training, no collective of other folks around him.
The technical term is outsider art.
He wasn't inspired by anyone else's work,
unless you count God.
He wasn't imitating great artists,
he wasn't asking for feedback from friends around him,
he just created this, and it resonated with the world.
Years after his death, there's a group of people here
who give their time preserving his legacy.
We have so many people coming from everywhere.
I've met people from little countries in Africa,
to all over Europe, to floating little islands
and this and that, it's amazing.
And some people, they come here for the religional deals on it, cool.
Some people come here for pretty people takin' pretty pictures at a pretty place,
which-- be respectful, and that's cool too.
It's getting you out, you're doing stuff.
They're getting off their couches and getting away from the TVs and stuff,
which is... TV is awesome too, though, so I'm not knocking TV.
Paint donations that we get here,
most of them come from the visitors.
They'll bring a couple of cans,
couple of cans turn into a hundred cans.
Let's say I wanted to paint that heart.
I would have to wait a considerable amount of time
'til I had enough really beautiful red to mix up to paint that heart.
And then it makes it so much more satisfying
when you do do it. But the best thing is,
that our paint comes really from the heart, from the people.
Even if this were to fall apart,
it's inspired so many people, filmmakers, pilgrims, and tourists alike,
that it'll live on in memories, in photographs, and yes, in music videos.
The moment I knew about it,
I wanted to come here and see it for myself.
I started volunteering here because
I realised how important it was to everybody that came here.
And so I volunteered more,
and eventually they had me be like a greeter
and I would, "Da-de-dah-de-dah."
Then I was like, "Well, can I paint while I greet?"
"Oh yeah, go ahead."
Next thing you know I'm the caretaker
and I've been living here a year and a half.
In my heart I'm the preservationist of this place.
I've tried to paint it all the same and make it beautiful and keep it.
When I fix it, I fix it good.
If I can't fix it good, don't fix it yet, leave it alone.
Leave it alone 'til you can do it right.
The biggest thing is: this is about love.
Leonard's love was God, and his relationship with Jesus.
But all kinds of love is awesome.
Like these people all just love cruising around and hanging out, doing stuff.
That's all makes everything better.
We don't think about all the dumb crap in this world.
And you know what? Then the dumb crap in this world
really becomes dumb crap in this world
and it doesn't have a powerful voice.
There's not many places in this world where it's good,
and nothing's expected of you.
We hope you would donate money to us
'cause that's how we do it, but if you don't, cool!
We got free souvenirs anyway, and there's constantly stuff going on.
But if you show up on a Saturday, you'll get to see what this is really about.
It is just packed with people having a good time,
respecting the mountain, respecting each other, it's awesome!
Some folks would say it's divine inspiration.
Some folks would be a bit more cynical and say that it had to be someone.
Of all the millions, perhaps billions of people
who ever tried creating art with no experience and no training,
yes, statistically someone was going hit the jackpot.
But it's difficult to be cynical here.
So I brought a couple of cans of paint along as part of my own pilgrimage,
because as it turns out,
I want to help preserve this as well.