Los Angeles Pink Paul Smith Wall

Instagram Infamous Hotspot: Paul Smith Pink Wall

Meanwhile in Los Angeles, people are embarking on "Instagram Destination Tours" just to get a picture in front of a pink wall. But how much fun are they really having?

To be honest, “Instagram Destination Tour” sounds like something Emily Ratajkowski would call her concert tour after launching an ill-fated singing career. And that’s quite apropos.

But first: introductions.

For those of you who don’t me, I’m Julia, an original HEREYOUARE contributor who was once based in New York by way of Paris. But my deepest, darkest secret is that I’m from L.A. I’m not talking about the Valley or the beaches—I’m from prime time West Hollywood. My high school bus stop was on the Sunset Strip, for fuck’s sake. I’m not proud of it, but it’s my truth.

Anyway, as of a year ago, I’ve been based back in my hometown, re-acquainting myself with the nuances of fresh-pressed juices and CBD supplements. Meanwhile, in Los Angeles will serve as a burn book/hate diary of my existence in the 72 degrees and sunny City of Angels. The subject of my first literary assault: L.A.’s most famous Instagram destinations.

The wall has attracted a fair amount of foot traffic as well—a rare thing in L.A.—and that of the selfie-taking variety.

Let’s get one thing straight: Los Angeles is to Instagram what New York City is to finance. That being said, I’ve decided to kick off my tour with the Times Square of L.A; the Paul Smith pink wall. Located in West Hollywood, the wall (which is actually an entire building) is nestled on the not-so-quiet corner of Melrose Avenue and Harper, just across from another Insta thot favorite: Reformation.

For those of you unfamiliar with the wall, it is special for no other reason other than the fact that is painted an unmistakable shade of bubblegum pink. The British designer opened the location in 2005, and it’s been fabled that the store was painted the bright hue to attract the attention of drivers. But in the last 14 years, the wall has attracted a fair amount of foot traffic as well—a rare thing in L.A.—and that of the selfie-taking variety. Indeed, #pinkwall has 135k posts on Instagram.

 

 

The wall has been referred to as a “mural,” which feels like a stretch. What exactly is it honoring? It’s basically a 3D Pantone swatch—not exactly art. Being from L.A., I can tell you that the location bares no historical or cultural significance. It’s simply the branding equivalent of winning the lottery. Erected five years before the birth of Instagram, the wall foreshadowed what was to come: experiential marketing built explicitly for the purposes of hashtagging and location tagging. Does that make it original? Maybe at one point. Today, it’s about as basic as pumpkin spice and Uggs.

 

Screenshot 2019-04-15 at 4.24.29 PM

 

As you drive by, as I often do, and see the flocks of tourists and influencers posing in front of a slab of albeit bright concrete, it’ll make you want to… well, bang your head against a wall. I’ve heard people say the Mona Lisa is overrated; I’d love to hear what those critics would make of this shit.

Because I live in a dystopian dumpster fire that some people like to call Los Angeles, the graffiti only made the wall more grammable.

Then again, I guess a photo with a pink background is the cheapest kind of fun one can have at a store that sells $350 trousers. The security guard in the parking lot doesn’t seem to mind in the least. In fact, the buzz the wall has built doesn’t seem to be driving sales for the store that created it. Fashionista found that only .17 percent of geotagged images were posted by followers of the Paul Smith account.

 

 

But the irony does not stop there. In a city that boasts some pretty incredible actual street art, it comes as no surprise that the pink wall has been the target of vandalism. Last year, the wall was spray painted with the rather pointed message: “Go fuck ur selfie.” (Word.) But because I live in a dystopian dumpster fire that some people like to call Los Angeles, the graffiti only made the wall more grammable. In Los Angeles, if it didn’t happen on the gram, it may as well have not happened in real life. And yet, for such an ego-centric bunch, the lack of self-awareness is staggering.

 

 

Cover picture by Appletrees

Julia Reiss is a Los Angeles-born writer and humorist alive and mostly well in New York City.
FacebookTwitterWhatsApp