map.jpg

Jane Chafin

Map of DTLA 2020-21, 2021

acrylic and ink on unstretched canvas

72" x 84"

elnopal3.jpg

Jane Chafin

Map of DTLA, 2020-21, 2021

for scale

at El Nopal Press, October 2021

map detail disclaimer.jpg

Jane Chafin

Map of DTLA, 2020-21, 2021

acrylic and ink on unstretched canvas

detail

map detail neighborhood alerts.jpg

Jane Chafin

Map of DTLA, 2020-21, 2021

acrylic and ink on unstretched canvas

detail

Statement

 

We left the pleasant, but ultimately deadening homogeneity of Pasadena, and moved to DTLA, with high hopes for our larger, less expensive loft, and the diversity that a dense urban area offers. Not a small part of our decision was the realization that mass transportation was finally a reality in Los Angeles. We sold our car and never looked back.

 

What we couldn’t have foreseen, however, was that three weeks in, while we were still unpacking, the Covid lock-down began.

The bustling rhythm of the city came to a grinding halt. The streets were empty and quiet, pierced occasionally by angry outbursts from street people or sirens wailing.

The drums and chants of Black Lives Matter protests soon began to fill the void. LAPD helicopters provided an ominous-sounding drone, phasing in and out or bursting with staccato from behind a building, plotting an overhead grid of the activity below.

The first two nights of protests, looters took advantage -- breaking glass, stealing, tagging and making general mayhem. They hit the clothing store on the main floor of our building, broke out a block’s worth of plate-glass windows, and set several fires on their way out. Our heroic building personnel were prepared, armed with fire extinguishers, and saved the day.

 

Overnight, it seemed like all of DTLA was boarded up: block after block after block of plywood.

The looting stopped, but the protests continued.

In a moment of pure cluelessness, I downloaded an app for my phone to alert me to what was going on in the neighborhood in terms of police activity, protests and covid. Already reluctant to go outside because of Covid, the constant app alerts sealed the deal. I rarely left the building until after we were fully vaccinated.

Realizing what a mistake it was for an anxiety-prone individual such as myself to be constantly alerted to more danger, I finally deleted the app from my phone, vowing never to re-install it.

This map is not meant to be an accurate representation of anything except perhaps my own dubious mental state as I begin to explore my new DTLA neighborhood. One thing I know for sure: it is humbling to live at Fifth and Broadway in Los Angeles, where Skid Row meets the Financial District, and first-world problems melt into meaninglessness. The contrast in life-styles is staggering, on display 24/7 and impossible to ignore -- so much so, that I feel overwhelmingly compelled to make this crazy-quilt map of my first impressions of life in DTLA.

 

Jane Chafin
September 2021

map detail neighborhood.jpg

Jane Chafin

Map of DTLA, 2020-21, 2021

acrylic and ink on unstretched canvas

detail