San Diego artist rebuilds after 2003 Cedar Fire

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – It has been 11 years since the devastating Cedar Fire, the largest wildfire in San Diego County History.

The fire killed 15 people and destroyed more than 2,200 buildings.

An artist who lost his home in 2003 says the fire gave the chance to find beauty from a changed world.

On a sunny day in Santa Ysabel, artist James Hubbell continues to rebuild his home.

It looks nothing like it did 11 years ago when the fire gutted half of the buildings in James’ neighborhood.

His house and main art studio were the casualties, along with almost half a century of his original art.

Hubbell’s sculptures, paintings, and luminous glass all wrested away by the firestorm.

Hubbell bought his ten acres to build a home in 1958.

His studio that was ravaged by the Cedar Fire has been fully restored and rebuilt.

Everywhere inside there is art, sculptures, mosaics, and vivid water colors.

Hubbell dubbed a building “the Boys’ House”, where his sons slept as teenagers, and after the fire, where James Hubbell and his wife lived while their home was being rebuilt.

The process of rebuilding took six to seven years, and Hubbell says that helped him find space.

At the age of 83, that something is growing his foundation Ilan Lael, a phrase in Hebrew. It means a tree that belongs to God.

The Ilan Lael Foundation is a center for integrating art, nature and the idea of community.

The Ilan Lael Foundation is active in a number of projects, many with a far reaching international scope.

Hubbell’s work is featured in a brand new exhibit which just opened a few days ago at the Mingei International Museum in Balboa Park.

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