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Bare-Bones Lofts Only a Dedicated Artist Could Love

February 17, 2001|VIVIAN LETRAN

The apartments in Downtown Brea are advertised as "artist lofts" but proof of creative talent is not required.

"We wanted to call it 'artist lofts' because it was sort of a romanticized version, a microcosm of an urban experience," said Susan Georgino, director of Brea Redevelopment Agency.

Some artists communities aren't as flexible.

Downtown Los Angeles' Brewery arts complex has strict regulations. Units in the two dozen buildings, which abut industrial warehouses, construction yards and the Golden State Freeway, are mostly reserved for career artists such as photographers, Web designers and those in the visual and performing arts.

There is a two-year waiting list to lease the 1,000- to 6,000-square-foot units at 65 cents to $1 per square foot. By city regulations, most lofts are one-third living space and two-thirds working space.

"Only dedicated artists will survive in a place like this," said Yolanda Ware, Brewery office manager. "There are no blinds, carpets. Sometimes, there's no kitchen. An artist will do without all the comforts of home as long as they have plenty of space to do their work."

Frank Miller, curator and member of the Orange County Center for Contemporary Art in Santa Ana, has moved from his brick-layered, paint-stained, windowless Brewery apartment to Sonoma, Calif., but he liked the convenience of living where he worked.

"Sometimes I worked really late and plopped myself on the couch and slept."

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