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Downtown street art: Deer find new grazing area

June 20, 2012 |  6:00 am

Downtown L.A.'s family of "deer" have migrated north and found another place to graze.

Overlooking a parking lot at the busy intersection of 2nd and Hill streets, the three papier-mache deer have opened eyes to an unattended grassy slope overshadowed by the Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Stanley Mosk Courthouse.

Even the valets who work in the parking lot every day had barely noticed the surrounding weeds before the herbivores' arrival early Tuesday morning.

"I thought they were going to start running away," said Willy Arias, one of three valets on the job Tuesday. "It made me laugh; the deer make [the hill] seem better."

"It makes me think it would look better if all this stuff was cleaned up," he said, pointing to the trash scattered across the slope. "It makes me want to clean it up."

Last month, the group of deer mysteriously appeared on the grassy slope by 4th and Hill streets, appearing to calmly be enjoying a patch of their natural habitat in the shadows of the cityscape. The area is one of the few places in downtown where the weeds are not trimmed and the trees weren't planted, said Calder Greenwood, 32, who, along with his cohort, "Wild Life," have been surprising downtown residents and workers with unexpected art pieces.

"The deer are so perfectly suited for that space that people were almost shocked to see it, or they don't notice," said Greenwood, a New York native working in Los Angeles as a multimedia artist.

The guerrilla art installations started popping up last month with a papier-mache family sunbathing in a fenced-in lot on Broadway between 1st and 2nd streets — raising eyebrows and startling passersby who thought they were real.

A wooden tree later sprouted from a tree stump near Spring and 2nd streets. These art installations have been subtle enough to go unnoticed by many of the preoccupied passersby. 

A week later, one papier-mache surfer floated in the middle of the L.A. River between 4th and 6th streets, quietly blending in with the industrial landscape. Another one mysteriously appeared in the same empty lot on Broadway.


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Photo: The deer sculpture at 2nd and Hill Streets. Credit: Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times