Student Name: Jaewon Raymond Lee

School: Art Center College of Design

Studio: Topic Studio – Urban Hangout

Instructor: James Meraz




Teenagers from various cultures, backgrounds, and age groups hold diverse beliefs in terms of identity and emotion; and they express personalities in different ways, depending on how cultures have influenced them and how their emotions have evolved.

Additionally, teenagers are often ignored because they are considered not mature enough to be respected by society. I want to use art to create a place where teenagers can express themselves within the community. Taking advantage of the city’s variety, their art will be rich in material and variety of quality.

The billboard structures not only provide privacy for the whole space, but it’s showing the expression from teenagers to the public. The bold colors, and size of the structures also caught the attention from both pedestrians and people who drive by.
The basic art supplies such as different painting mediums and DJ machine would be provided for teenagers to customize their ideas. Also, their paintings would have a chance to be installed in the gallery to present to the public.

Social exclusion – Public space is meant to be enjoyed by all people, not controlled by public or private restriction. Unfortunately, this is no longer the reality. Rather than being an expression of freedom, access, and community; the concept of public space has become a limiting concept that determines where certain people – or more accurately types of people – are tolerated in the modern city.

Assumptions about teenagers – People say that teens are lazy, reckless, loud, disrespectful, and dangerous. In a society saturated images reinforcing the idea of young people as disobedient and destructive leads to them being stigmatized as anti-social for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Social exclusion and teenagers – The voices of teenagers are not often emphasized or valued by society because of their age. This is unfair to teenagers, a group that has much to explore, limits to test, and struggles to find autonomy and identity in today’s world.

Moreover, generic adult understanding of space and aesthetics is normatively framed by a desire for safe, well governed cities. This does not match young people’s practices of re-appropriation and play. Then, they express a sense of ostracism from the public space.

In XIIX, teenagers could work as employee in cafe shop to manage whole space. In the case, teenagers would have chance to earn money, also they can learn more experiences about “helping each other”. In march shop, teenagers could buy items such as hoodies, t-shirts, caps, skateboards, and more to work on their creativities. In special events, famous local artists would work with XIIX, and they would release special edition that can only bought from XIIX.
Teenagers enjoy talking, no matter where. I designed this area to be a place where teenagers can freely access to talk and communicate with each other. Sometimes it could be a place where teenagers can enjoy movies, also, on special day, XIIX would invite young activists to share and present in here in-front of the audiences.

I was inspired by the billboard structure, the beautiful complex detail behind the board; and also the warehouse’s organized roof structure. This, combined with the freeways of LA, the overlapping cloverleafs where they merge; and the industrial vibe of the street skateboarding culture; combined into my vision for the project.

I’m hoping that this project can work with The Self Help Graphics Youth Committee, resulting in an opportunity for youth leaders from Boyle Heights, and greater LA, to come together in civic engagement and advocacy. Also, I don’t want a high-end brand to involve and sponsor the project, because this space is about teenager expression. Therefore, they should manage the space, and gain a sense of self-worth, in the long run.

Different from existing skateboard parks, I was inspired by how teenagers enjoy skateboarding on the street, and they can skateboard the whole day in the same spot, stairs, and ramps to develop their skills. Based on teenagers' imagination, this area allows them to play freestyle.
Los Angeles, has always been a melting pot. There are people from all parts of the world residing together in one space. This diversity in culture is what makes Los Angeles and the rest of Southern California so special.

Design is a powerful tool that communicates and connects. Where I lived as a child, and where I studied have formed who I am – a multi-cultural designer.  I was lucky to learn about other cultures before my own, and realized life is about experiencing through empathy. There are diverse ways of life in every country, or even in each city. As a designer, I want to make people smile, and create an experience that allows them to feel whole

Using empathy to design spatial experiences can have a positive impact on others’ lives. I want to find practical solutions that resonate through deep connections between environment and culture. I value cultures, lifestyles, and others’ abilities to give life to environmental solutions.

Design is the tool that can allow me to have the greatest impact.