Wood carving is Jackie Hadnot's passion. With great dexterity and precision that only the years have been able to give him, he transforms a simple piece of wood into true works of art.
Hadnot has been inspired by the beauty and majesty of trains since he was a child, which is why most of the carvings of him are trains.
However, among his large collection, there are also symbols and images of historic buildings part of Southern California life. The most iconic of them is the wooden cross found in Placita Olvera.
The cross that is in the Olvera square is the third that is placed in the same place. The first was placed in 1782 but it was ruined and was replaced by another that did not stand the test of time.
The third was placed four years ago, made by Jackie at no cost to the city of Los Angeles.
“I remember that the general manager of Placita Olvera came to me and said, 'How would you like to be the third person to make the cross for this square?'”, Hadnot said. "I told him, 'It would be an honor for me.'
When asked how much he would charge for his work, his response was emphatic.
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"I told him," nothing. I can't put a price on something like that.'”
The wooden cross is one of the most significant points of the Olvera Square and welcomes visitors through the area where the city of Los Angeles was founded.
According to Hadnot, it is a piece that will last for many years because it was carved from teak wood.
“Many people take photos and will continue to take photos with the cross for generations, to keep the history of Placita Olvera alive,” said Hadnot, who has promised that he would take care of it for the rest of his life.
More than 100 pieces of carved wood art make up the Hadnot collection. However, he does not make a living selling his art pieces but his greatest reward is putting them in public places where they can be admired.
The artist has proudly said that, after his death, he hopes that his works will be exhibited in museums, buildings or squares as gifts for new generations.
This story first appeared on NBCLA's sister station, Telemundo 52. Haz clic aquí para leer esta historia en español.