Coming from Japan, I had never been to an “Arts District”. In Tokyo, they have strict laws about street art and murals so there aren’t many to look at. If someone paints a wall with art, the police make them paint over it right away. When I first visited DTLA’s Art District, I thought, “So cool! All this art! I have to take photos!” Downtown’s Arts District started in the 70’s and by the 1990’s, had 400 exhibits of downtown artists. Now, there are 50 art galleries and art exhibits to visit in the Arts District. I spent the day walking around and discovered my top 5 picks. 1. House of Woo House of Woo is a shop of a famous designer, Staci Woo, who has been producing at Arts District since 1990.This shop is located in a place where there is little traffic and it is a bit hard to find. But it is a spot that I definitely wanted to visit because you can find rare items. The front area of the shop has become a boutique, and clothes designed by Woo and miscellaneous goods are lined up. There is a work room that can be seen when entering the back. They, sometimes, have art exhibitions and said they hold a special workshop where you can tailor your clothes with an assistant designer for children aged 4 to 12.
2. EIGHTYTWO EightyTwo, located just at the border between Little Tokyo and Arts Distribution, is an adult-only game arcade. Vintage game machines are lined up and adults can enjoy alcohol while listening to music by a DJ. Playing the video game costs 25 cents for one game and 50 bets for pinball game. It costs money to play the games, but the entrance fee is free. They told me they hold the L.A Pinball league gathers at the arcade every Tuesday night, and various games tournaments are held at the venue. You can feel a bit of nostalgia and enjoy the atmosphere.
3. Alchemy Works This is a miscellaneous goods select shop for a while locked next to Blacktop which is new coffee shop. Not only apparel, it is a select shop that handles a lot of stylish and unique miscellaneous goods. There is stylish accessories and miscellaneous goods inside of the store. The car in the center of the store is changeable and it is for sale as well. Of course, art that hangs on the wall is for sale. Which means, This shop is also a gallery. There are galleries and event spaces besides shops, and it is popular as a fashionable grocery store in Los Angeles. There are many unique designs that are not mass-produced items, and people may find hard bargains. The atmosphere of the shop is also very good, you definitely should visit here if you consider shopping in downtown.
4. AN HOMAGE TO HOLLIS BENTON When I was going to House of Woo, I ran into an exhibition named, “An Homage to Hollis Benton”. This gallery was held in honor of Hollis Benton of the Los Angeles gallery by a group show organized by Aaron Moulton. The space there completely changed to a gallery of 80 's style, with unique and avant‐garde art works and music derived from that decade. I was so impressed by every product. My most favorite one was Emoji video. In that video, emoji’s with various facial expressions were mixed with chaos. Every time the screen changes, it seems like the emoji got burned or messed up with paint. I think it shows to satire a lack of emotions and gaps due to the development of modern technology. There is also a goods shop next to this gallery, which was so cute too. This gallery runs from May 25 to June 24. If you like art, you need to go and see that.
5. Hauser & Wirth In this place, there is a restaurant, gallery, and a bookstore. Everything is really unique over there, even the restroom. There is a hallway and they hang lights shaped like underwear from the ceiling. There are various kinds of street art around the town. There are so many, that it becomes overwhelming. To make this art more known, they have organized an event called Art Walk, and is held on the second Thursday of every month in downtown. The galleries around the world are free for this event and vendors sell accessory art. A perfect event for those wishing to enjoy downtown at night!
The Arts District is located in DTLA on between Little Tokyo at Alameda to the west and the LA River to the east. http://www.artsdistrictla.org/