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Street art 'sunbathers' draw double-take in downtown L.A.

May 23, 2012 | 12:06 pm

Sunbathers in downtown Los Angeles

At first glance, passersby thought they were real: a boy playing in the sand, a man and woman sunbathing on brightly colored beach towels in the fenced-in empty lot in downtown Los Angeles.

"At first, I thought they were real and thought: Who would actually do that? I had to take a closer look," said Natalie Espinoza, 20, who stopped for a few minutes to try to get a good picture with her cellphone. "Now I'm thinking: Who would go to all that trouble to put in that art? It's funny."

The life-size guerrilla art installation on Broadway between 1st and 2nd streets in downtown Los Angeles has been drawing attention since Tuesday, when it mysteriously appeared. Passersby rushing down 1st Street stopped their cellphone conversations to peer through the fence. Others did double-takes as they continued walking, removing their sunglasses for a better look.

"I wish I had my camera," Kim Whitlowe, 48, said to her friend. "I was thinking: Who'd want to sit in a fenced-in area, on rocks. There's no shade, no water-- and they even brought a child! To each his own, but I'm glad it's not real."

"There's even a beach ball," she said, laughing. She pointed to the nine people waiting at a bus stop across the lot: "I'm surprised not more people are looking at it."

Karen Aguilar, 19, spotted it from afar and walked around the fence to be as close to the sunbathers as possible.

"I have to put this on Facebook," she said, already typing away on her phone. "The woman even has an umbrella, a towel.... That's crazy. It's a full family right there."

Just another Los Angeles moment, noted Lance Greene, 51, an attorney walking by on his way to court.

"Looks like you can even enjoy SoCal in a construction zone," he said.

Did you snap a picture of the sunbathing family? Or do you have a favorite piece of Los Angeles street art?  Tweet it to us using the hashtag #lastreetart or to our @lanow Twitter account.


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-- Rosanna Xia

Photo: Mannequin sunbathers lay out their towels and beach chairs in a dirt pit on Broadway and 1st Street in downtown Los Angeles. Credit: Arkasha Stevenson / Los Angeles Times