Monday, April 30, 2012

Photo Essay: Tile House, Hollywood Hills

In the Hollywood Hills stands a sprawling house built in the 1920s which has spent the last 40 years being covered in tile, inside and out.

Former pro wrestler and expert mosaicist George Ehling lives inside his masterwork with his Brazilian second wife, his musician son, and a couple of tenants. Touring the Tile House gives  rare opportunity to actually speak to a folk artist in his own habitat - one that, unlike a lot of other folk art whose hodge-podge aesthetic draws outcries from the neighboring community, is actually quite lovely.

From the pillars outside the garage doors at street level... the entry stairway... the outdoor fountain, which features one of George's first works, a bird...

...the house features tile drawn from a variety of sources - purchased from dealers, received as a donation (particularly from his compadres in the movie business), and scavenged from the garbage.

George, a self-proclaimed madman, at 85 years old, is still building scaffolding and climbing up the walls, not quite his former 10 hours a day, but still diligent in his work (though no longer aided by the carpentry skills of Harrison Ford, who used to live across the street).

Like many other folk artists, George's work is never done. His masterpiece is unfinished, a perpetual work-in-progress...

...which is probably what I can relate to the most.

George's Tile House is not to be mistaken for a different tile house in Venice, or any number of the other mosaic works of art in Southern California like Watts Towers or Bottle Village. It is still a private residence so special thanks to deLaB, Atlas Obscura, and Ford+Ching for access.

Further Reading:
California Home Took 40 Years and a Lot of Patience (CA Home + Design)

To become a fan on Facebook, click here.