Capturing the soul of the city he loved

Mar 16, 2019 719

BY: Lisa Napoli

When the city began bulldozing the Los Angeles neighborhood he loved—the neighborhood he lived inLeo Politi protested in the only way he knew how. He made art. Bunker Hill had captivated his imagination from the moment he arrived from Fresno in the mid-1930s and set up his easel on Olvera Street, sketching portraits of tourists to make a living.

Once city officials won the right, in the early sixties, to clear out over 130 acres of the downtown neighborhood they deemed to be slums, he trained his paintbrush with an eye toward preserving what soon would be gone. Holding out to the last minute, he and his wife relocated nearby to 415 East Edgeware in nearby Angelino Heights, where he lived until his death in 1996.

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