Downtown LA fire burns artist studios and supplies at Little Tokyo Art Complex

The Little Tokyo Art Complex had a fire a year ago that burned down many artists’ studios.

“As an artist whose work revolves around identity, I felt like 15 years of my life had been erased in an instant,” said artist Emily Eunnuri Lee Dobbs.

Artists say the fire erased years of their work and supplies.

“I came with the intention and rented the studio space with the intention of doing a lot of work and owning my space like any artist does, right? For an artist , every brushstroke counts”,
said artist Jesse Fregozo.

Now, 11 artists who had spaces on the building’s second and third floors are coming forward to file a lawsuit against the building’s owner, L for Lofts LLC, and Wilfred Yang, an agent.

“We’ve taken legal action in part to investigate exactly why it started. What we do know is there was a major fire, maybe it started with a explosion in the early morning of the day of the fire. About 150 LAFD firefighters came there and the fire burned virtually the entire building from the first to the third floor,” attorney Cyrus Shahriari said.

Shahriari says if the building had certain fire prevention measures, the severity of the fire might have been different. Currently, there is no specific amount for the lawsuit.

“We’re talking tens, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars of actual supplies that have been lost to my customers,” Shahriari said.

He says in their complaint they mention a previous fire outside the building and he also says some of his clients have raised specific concerns with the owners of the building about the fire measures.

Now his clients say they are moving forward, but it hasn’t been easy.

“You know, when you’re an immigrant you come and start over all the time and I had to start over,” said artist Hedy Torres.

We reached out to Yang for a comment, but got no response.

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