Text by Van Corsa
Imagine. You’ve made it. Went to school. Got a job in a tech start-up. Paid off your student debt. Moved to Los Angeles. L.A. Then you got a tech job at another start-up. In Venice, a.k.a., “Silicon Beach.”
That start-up made an app and it got big real fast. You made a shitload of money. Then you MOVED to Venice. Rents insane. Then you BOUGHT in Venice. You found a condo around the corner from fashionable, beautiful and gentrified Abbot Kinney Blvd. Prime real estate. Primo location, bro! Expensive.
This condo, it wasn’t just any condo. Because you’re not just any Silicon Beach scrote. You’re not just another sartorially-challenged techie slacking in basic, comfortable fashion. You are more than just a dude with a closet full of hoodies and New Balance sneakers and the full quiver of video game consoles.
YOU have taste. YOU read thick, glossy shelter mags, as well as Wallpaper, Surface and Monocle. YOU wear v-neck tee shirts from James Perse. Your sneakers are by Rick Owens. Your jeans (or “pant,” singular) are by Alexander Wang. YOU are “kind of a foodie.” YOU have an espresso machine that costs as much as a compact car, and it looks like it should be in an art museum. Speaking of museums, you have annual memberships to MOCA, LACMA, the Getty, the Hammer Museum and even SFMoMA (for when you’re on one of your frequent trips to the Bay Area). You visit these places often.
You are also a fan of architecture. On your coffee table is a stack of massive Taschen books on Tadao Ando, Rem Koolhaas, and Frank Gehry. Cumulatively these books are as heavy as a compact car.
You think of yourself as a minimalist. You dislike clutter. Your preferred colors are shades of gray and beige. You like sleek things. You like understatement. What furniture and household items you didn’t buy at Crate & Barrel or Bo Systems or BluDot, you bought at Muji. Your kitchen feels like a Muji store. In fact, if you hung a Muji sign outside your condo, it could be a dead ringer for a Muji shop in, say, Tokyo’s Aoyama neighborhood.
You’re condo is 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, 2 parking spaces, a balcony, in-unit washer and dryer, four blocks from the beach, market price equivalent to the GDP of a small island nation.
But you’re condo is not just an overpriced and nice place to live in an overpriced nice location. No. YOUR condo is a reflection of your tastes, your style. It’s an expression of your minimalist tendencies. It’s gray. A concrete-colored stucco on the exterior suggests it might actually be concrete, like all those Tadao Ando buildings you saw in Japan. The building’s shape is like a boxy, post-modern, abstract sculptural object. At a distance the condo building looks like it would be a new, large house on the outskirts of Amsterdam or a large art gallery in Chelsea.
And then … And then somebody, the artist, or the developer, or the owner of your minimalist condo put up or commissioned a giant mural of a bird on the side of your building.
Fuuuuuuuuuuuuck! YOU’RE A HOMEOWNER NOW, and a mural like this is not cool. Of course, you LOVE street art! LOVE it. But not on “MY home!” “How is this going to affect my property’s value?” you ask yourself. “Fuuuuuuuuuuuuck!” you say, again, this time for emphasis.
But don’t worry! This is L.A., bro! It’s a sellers’ real-estate market. Even with an historic building boom in the city, housing supply can’t keep up with demand and prices continue to soar.
At this moment, there is somebody out there who will pay 15% ABOVE the asking price BECAUSE there’s a bird mural on the side of your condo! You could unload this thing for a profit right now. Only drawback? With prices rising so quickly, for the same amount of square-footage, you’d have to move to a new condo in “Venice-adjacent” Mar Vista. And that is no bueno, bro!
. . .
The awesome bird mural pictured here is by the awesome artist Louis Masai.