This Obsessive Utah Artist Spent a Half-Century Building a Personal Shrine

By Torben Bernhard & Travis Low | December 6, 2016

After losing his grandmother, sister, father and daughter in the span of six months, Ralphael Plescia turned his grief into art. Nearly fifty years later, Plescia’s larger-than-life sculptures and drawings have become an obsession, filling every nook and cranny of his private museum in Salt Lake City, Utah. His project has one overriding vision: to tell the real story of Biblical creation by rendering characters and tales lost to history. Over the years, the giant works of art have become part of the building itself as Plescia hollows out underground tunnels and builds bridges to make space for more of his creations. Now reaching his twilight years, Plescia is coming face to face with the reality that when he dies, his legacy may die with him. “There’s a 98 percent chance that one day none of this will be here and I wasted my life,” he reflects. “We all have a choice of wasting our own life the way we want.”

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