Driving down Highland to Franklin is a nightmare. If there isn’t Bowl traffic, there is general Hollywood and Highland traffic. If there isn’t Hollywood and Highland traffic, some a-hole drivers attempted to make a light and have caused unnecessary gridlock all around. If it isn’t gridlocked, some crazy someone is wandering the streets causing a hold-up and you never can get to where you want to go in a timely manner. You’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t: there is not really any redeeming anything about going through this area.
But have you gone by there recently? In addition to the always fascinating and welcoming Methodist church signs (Currently up there: an advertisement for a punny movie series called “Crossflix.”), the gas station on the corner has lost all of its signage and is left as a set of florescent bones that are lit up at night like a Dan Flavin installation. To make things even more exciting, the gas station on the corner of Los Feliz and Franklin has followed the same math and has lost its signage too. While this is probably a clerical error and the appropriate BP or whatever signs will come soon, we’re in a very rare and special moment of found art in Los Angeles: we have gotten to see gas stations look like Light & Space art pieces for weeks.
It all started around mid-June. The signs on the Franklin/Highland station came down and everyone probably assumed that they’d be back up in a day. But they weren’t. A few weeks later, the Franklin/Los Feliz station was strangely naked too. Coincidence? Probably. The strange thing about this is the stations are still open and still functional–and they always turn their sign’s lights on at night. You get these beams of clean, white light shining at you, illuminating cars and street signs for no other reason than it can. They’re obviously distracting to drivers since they are so eye catching and, if you are like us, any sort of light art attracts us like moths.
What if gas stations were designed by Light & Space movement artists? Would this be the simple statement that they would make? Why can’t more gas stations be like this? What if this is in fact an actual art effort that we don’t know about? We’ll all have to see. It’s such a genius and simple act that has made the most mundane of gas stations outshine that of architectural treasures like Office dA’s Helios House on Olympic.
If you have not been by this area in a while, go out of your way to do so–and do it at night. These random, accidental gas station light installations will probably not be around for long and you have to see them. Wouldn’t it be great if they could stay around for good? What if all gas stations did this? We hope this becomes “a thing” because it is such a statement–and practically nothing was done to make it! We’d only hope that Los Angeles can lead a crusade to rework what gas stations should look like. It’d be cool if they all looked this artsy, too.