Silver Lake's 'Bates Motel' gets a whitewash

bates-motel-portrait.jpgPhotos by Iris Schneider.

Vincent Lamouroux says he was always attracted to the building, known in Silver Lake as the Bates Motel, at the corner of Bates and Sunset. Over the past 15 years, he has driven by on trips to Los Angeles from his native France, always wanting to do an art project here, but not really sure what it would be. On Sunday, the fruits of his thoughts and labor will finally be open to the public: the entire Sunset Pacific Motel building covered in a gleaming whitewash, that has taken the decrepit eyesore from awful to awesome.

Over the past few weeks, painters have been covering every inch of the rundown motel — including the palm trees — with a water-soluble lime wash that has given the corner a clean bill of health. The motel has been bought and sold several times over the past years, with plans for an upscale hotel and condominiums being discussed and shelved. Now, for the time being at least, it has been transformed with Lamouroux's project "Projection." Lamouroux explained that the name refers both to the process of spraying the lime wash onto the building, but also that the viewer is able to project ideas and imagination onto the surfaces of this building.


Lamouroux says transformation is a theme of his work, and by doing a large scale installation it not only involves the eye of the viewer, but all the senses. "I like to produce some sort of experience," he said on Thursday as he supervised the touch up of lime wash being sprayed onto the palm trunks and fronds. The neighboring communities, including Thomas Starr King Middle School, the Silverlake Independent Jewish Community
Center and the Lycée International de Los Angeles, along with community organizations, all heartily supported the project.

"It was a long process, but not that hard," Lamouroux said. "I like the idea that we were able to have around us people who were believers about it. It's a great thing to be able to share a dream, starting from an idea and transforming it into a reality. For me, this project is an awakened dream that has turned into reality."


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