October 2020 - 3450West

The Live-Work Life: Renowned Artist Lyle Owerko’s Dream Studio at Thirty Four Fifty West

Walking into Lyle Owerko’s multi-level space at Thirty Four Fifty West, it is immediately evident that he is an impactful force in the world of art. His framed works, in progress pieces, pop culture-influenced interiors — all striking components of his beautifully reimagined residence and a unique glimpse into the workings of his mind.

Lyle first came to prominence when his photograph of the World Trade Center attack on September 11, 2001 landed on the cover of Time Magazine — later recognized as one of the top 50 covers of all time. His groundbreaking Boombox Project then gained him worldwide acclaim, with his pieces housed in many of the world’s most respected art institutions as well as collected by the likes of Jay-Z, Beyonce, Madonna and Swizz Beatz. Today, Lyle’s full-time studio at Thirty Four Fifty West has kickstarted his next chapter of work in Los Angeles.

Designed to be a flexible canvas for his most visionary ideas, Lyle’s four-story space is equal parts creative lab, art gallery and creative atelier, complete with a modern minimalist library, multimedia studio space, dream home office, garage turned workshop/professional-grade printing shop and more. For a deeper look inside, we sat down with Lyle to gain insight into his ingenuity, how he makes the most of his space at Thirty Four Fifty West and why the community truly is “the gift that keeps on giving.” 

Can you tell us a bit about what you do and how you typically use your space at Thirty Four Fifty West on a daily basis? 

I’m a Fine Art photographer, represented both in the United States and internationally. Among my most recognizable works is the image I shot for the cover of Times Magazine’s September 11, 2001 issue. Since then, my practice has expanded into film, sculpture and, most recently, digital arts that sell on a blockchain enabled platform. In my current projects, I seek to bridge ethnic and geographic borders in a manner that documents cultural grounds for the betterment of the human condition.

I use my space at Thirty Four Fifty West solely for creative purposes, so I typically start my day in Los Feliz at home — which is just a ten-minute drive from the office. Coffee is a must after getting my two-year-old son started on his day, then I’ll head into the office while tuned into the events of the day on Bloomberg, NPR or CNN. That sets my sights on what I need to accomplish in the studio. 

You have done an incredible job repurposing each space to fulfill your creative needs. Can you tell us a little bit about what you did to achieve this? 

I added a set of floor-to-ceiling shelves that brought my book collection out of their boxes and to life again. I brought most of them from my New York City home and I can gladly say they’re enjoying the lovely California light now. I also have a printing lab in the garage where works from current and future shows are staged. Working inside the garage has allowed me to meet a lot of fascinating people in the Thirty Four Fifty West community. 

Another major plus is the design of the units. The vertical structure of the space is incredibly open, has amazing light and is an extremely productive, peaceful place to call “home” for all my creative endeavors. 

Any tips for achieving the perfect work environment? 

Fast-speed WiFi, a fridge stocked with healthy eats for refueling throughout the day and a constant flow of music. That’s been my survival kit for the last six months. 

What’s your favorite thing about working at Thirty Four Fifty West?

Thirty Four Fifty West has been the gift that keeps giving. It’s close to home, its access from all over Los Angeles is unprecedented and there’s a community here that thrives on finding out what your neighbors are making, creating and doing. 

What’s your favorite thing to do when you’re not at home?

My wife and I are avid travelers. A giant part of our relationship is exploring beaches, cities and as many far-off locations that we can fit into a year. She is also a fine artist, so we feed a lot off of each other with sourcing inspiration and sharing in each other’s creative practices.

Where do you want to travel to next with the family? 

I’d like to take my wife and son to Hawaii. The island of Kauai is particularly meaningful to us, but if we’re really feeling adventurous, we’ll probably go to Tahiti.

If you could only eat at three restaurants in the local area, where would you go?

We’re big fans of All-Time, SugarFish and the 101 Cafe. We also frequent Home State a lot — our son loves it there because we can sit outside and watch traffic pass by.

The Live-Work Life: Philanthropist Transforms Two Spaces into Hip
Non-Profit Headquarters

To kick off our new “Live-Work Life” series — which highlights the many innovative ways our most forward-thinking owners and residents reimagine their live-work spaces at Thirty Four Fifty West — we are excited to introduce the amazing Dr. Lois Lee.

The Founder and President of Children of The Night, a non-profit organization dedicated to rescuing and providing crucial resources to child sex trafficking victims, Dr. Lois recently transformed two residences at Thirty Four Fifty West to realize the headquarters of her dreams, complete with light-filled, open-concept spaces that allow for enhanced flexibility — both for staff and young sex trafficking victims.

We sat down with Dr. Lois Lee to learn more about her incredible organization and just how she reimagined two live-work spaces at Thirty Four Fifty West to create the ultimate office environment for Children of the Night.

Can you tell us a bit about your non-profit, Children of the Night?

I founded Children of the Night in 1979, and it’s the first child sex trafficking program in North America. Since its onset, we have rescued, stabilized and educated over 11,000 children who were forced to prostitute for food to eat and a place to sleep.

Throughout the years, Children of the Night has gained a reputation as one of the most prominent and successful organizations in the nation addressing the needs of America’s sex-trafficked children. Diplomats come from all over the world to observe our work, which includes many European and Southeast Asian countries, as well as Japan, Romania, Nepal, Africa, India, Mexico and Canada. Since our inception, all Children of the Night programs have been exclusively funded by private donors.

You did a tremendous job combining two residences at Thirty Four Fifty West. Can you tell us a little bit about how and when you use the spaces?

My HQ at Thirty Four Fifty West is dedicated for office use. I have east coast clients so I first start my day at home around 6am, then arrive at Thirty Four Fifty West around 10 or 10:30am and stay until around 6 or 6:30pm.

How were you able to achieve your goals to make Thirty Four Fifty West your HQ for Children of the Night?

Having a nonprofit that’s been around for 41 years, it was important for me to have an office headquarters that had a hip, youthful energy relevant to today’s workforce. By purchasing and combining two spaces at Thirty Four Fifty West, I was able to accommodate modern, spacious and comfortable workstations for my staff and allow for effortless management.

Thus, I was able to create varying work environments to satisfy our team members’ every need, from nationwide case management to online tutoring for young sex trafficking victims.

Can you tell us more about what you accomplish from your headquarters each day?

From Thirty Four Fifty West, we have have developed an effective model of case management and education combining advanced internet technology and mobilized social services, which has increased our capacity to serve young sex trafficking victims by 90 percent.

From our headquarters, Children of the Night Case Managers provide children 24-hour services, 7 days a week. Whether they need rescue from pimps, medical services, public health insurance, social security/disability benefits, maternity housing, drug program placement, domestic violence shelter, emergency transportation, mental health services, psychiatric evaluations, access to psychotropic medications, advocacy with the courts, social workers, probation officers, resume preparation, job placement assistance, access to vocational or trade schools or community colleges, applications for FAFSA (federally funded financial aid) — we are ready and willing to help.

Our FREE tutoring through Zoom tutors sex trafficking victims so they may obtain their high school equivalency — a vital first step in escaping the streets. The high school equivalency enables them to enter the military, work in support positions in medicine or law or attend vocational/trade school or community college.

What’s your favorite thing about working from Thirty Four Fifty West?

My favorite thing about Thirty Four Fifty West is the feeling of security (and not having to pay for my own security). This includes security staff, fencing, not worrying about my packages being stolen, onsite maintenance. I also have great neighbors — many who are very creative, so my creative resources are just next door.

What’s your favorite thing to do when you’re not at Thirty Four Fifty West?

My favorite thing to do when I leave work is to exercise. I love to swim in the summer, use my Peloton and/or do strength training.

If you could only eat at three restaurants in the local area, where would you go?

Bistro Garden in Studio City (sad to see it close), Firefly in Studio City and Ca’ Del Sole in Toluca Lake.

If you could choose one place to visit right now, where would you go?

Singapore or New York.

To learn more about Children of the Night, please visit the organization’s website here.


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