Narratively

 

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

Ralphael Plescia turned an unused building into a quirky, cultural goldmine. But what will become of it all when he’s gone?

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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Faces of Freelance: Meet Carolyn

An award-winning producer on how freelancers bring freedom and innovation to structured work environments.

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Mission Impossible: Finding the Perfect Name for My Kid

A new dad on the nightmare-inducing challenge of coming up with a timeless but fresh, cool but not too cool name for his son.

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Adventure Is in My DNA

A filmmaker and surfer proudly explores her Indigenous roots, and discovers that thrill-seeking runs in the family.

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These 4 Women Are Taking on a Politician Near You

The coalminer’s daughter. The bartender. The police brutality activist. The grieving mother. Each looked at the man representing her in Congress and said, “I can do better.”

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The Grieving Mom Fighting for a Healthcare System That Actually Works

Amy Vilela lost her daughter when she couldn’t afford the medical bills. When her Congressman told her he wouldn’t support universal healthcare, Amy said, “I’m running.”

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This Ferguson Activist Wants to be Missouri’s First Black Congresswoman

Cori Bush is a registered nurse, a pastor and a mom. After taking to the streets to protest police killings, she looked in the mirror and said, “why not politician, too?”

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How Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Pulled Off the Biggest Upset in Congressional History

In early 2018, we introduced you to a bartender from the Bronx trying to pull off what many said was impossible. Here’s how AOC became the youngest woman ever elected to Congress.

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This Coalminer’s Daughter Is Mad as Hell—And Running for the U.S. Senate

Paula Jean Swearengin has seen West Virginia’s land exploited, its people fall ill, and its politicians do nothing. So she decided to do something herself.

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The Collector of Time

As Mark McKinley puts it, “no collector ever says, ‘I’ve gone too far.'” After 27 years and an official Guinness World Record, he stands by that statement.