Graffiti Artists Painted On 27 Floors Of An Abandoned Luxury Condo…


An abandoned luxury real estate project in downtown LA went viral last week after dozens of graffiti artists painted over at least 27 floors.

Spanning an entire square city block, Oceanwide Plaza was supposed to be a massive mixed-use development featuring more than 500 luxury condos and a five-star hotel occupying three towers reaching up to 40 stories. The building, across from Los Angeles’ Arena, was once set to be the tallest residential tower in the city, according to Forbes.

The $1 billion project began in 2015 but was put on hold in 2019 when the Chinese-backed developer Oceanwide Holdings ran out of funding. The building, in a city with an increased housing crisis, has sat vacant ever since.

Now, the windows of the glossy, unfinished buildings are spray-painted with colourful block letters that read, ‘Crave,’ ‘Dank’ and ‘Amen’, among other phrases, bringing some much-needed attention to the neglected quarters.

The graffiti artists maximised virality by spreading their paints in a place that would be right next door to where the Grammy Awards occured on Sunday.

The New York Times notes that the graffiti has only emphasised the unfinished buildings, which critics say are an eyesore and a source of frustration for many residents.

Kevin de León, a member of the Los Angeles City Council, called on the owners of the buildings to do something about the vacant property.

“The city of L.A. has already served the property owners in order to comply with a deadline instructing them to fulfill their responsibilities,” Mr. de León said during a news conference on Friday morning.

Stefano Bloch, a cultural geographer and former graffiti artist, said the graffiti had helped draw attention to the incomplete project:

“This is people taking it upon themselves to use a space that in many ways was abandoned by people with money and power,” said Mr. Bloch, who is a Los Angeles native.

He noted that they still broke the law. Police said that two had fled before officers arrived and that two men were cited for trespassing and then released. Mr. Bloch said that decades ago, graffiti artists faced prison sentences, but now they are more likely to be fined for vandalism and trespassing, he said.

“In the 1990s, there was this moral panic about graffiti being linked to gangs, but times have changed,” Mr. Bloch said. “Even if people don’t like it — and they’re entitled not to like it — they understand that graffiti is not connected to violence.”

Per HyperAlergic, an artist who took the centre spot on the top of Tower 1 said he hoped to “Make LA graffiti history”.

Image: Leonardo Manzano

LA City Councilman Kevin de León introduced a motion to remove the graffiti from the buildings and secure the area, saying that the developers were given until February 17 to clean up the property.


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