A few (purple) steps to happiness at home… and how Los Angeles wants those steps in one community repainted

Have you ever used sidewalk chalk?

It’s fun. It’s vibrant. It makes you feel like a kid again.

What if you permanently added color to your sidewalk?

As in trade in that lavender chalk for some lavender paint?

I’d say that would be pretty sweet. But, imagine five years later having to go to court to tell a judge that, yes, you will paint your sidewalk white again… to conform to all the other “squares” in the neighborhood.

That’s what is happening for artist Annakim Violette tomorrow. (She is the daughter of my favorite singer, but this blog post is not about that.) Five years ago, during a rain storm, she painted the sidewalk leading up to her secluded house in the Silver Lake area of LA. Now, in this new legal rainstorm, she must repaint the sidewalk to its concrete color. She must conform. No artist wants to hear that. That’s worse than the other c-word.

I am not familiar with LA and won’t pretend to be as I write this blog post – I am writing it to stand up for an artist who should be able to make her home what she wants it to be. However, I did some quick Googling on her neighborhood and found a headline from the Los Angeles Times about Silver Lake. The headline is Silver Lake: Creative and Artsy Folks Call it Home. Sounds like some neighbors don’t agree with that association, otherwise, why would a resident make a civil complaint over purple steps?

anna kim violette house

Images from Annakim's house - wish I could find one of the sidewalk. This image is credited to ladyfingers.tumblr.com

Foam Magazine called Annakim’s Los Angeles home a “cottage of curiosities.” I’ve seen pictures. It is. And, if I was not bound to the East Coast, I surely would love to visit this colorful abode. Here is the article about Annakim’s house from Foam Magazine, pasted into her blog.

In fact, Annakim’s home has been the subject of many beautiful magazine and blog articles for its artfulness. These mags features gorgeous pictures of the eclectic rooms and outdoor spaces. She explains in her Foam interview that her house is fearless.

Here is another blog post from Braided Unicorn that calls Annakim’s house “drool worthy.”

Here are a slew of colorful pictures from The Selby that show Annakim’s house.

Here’s the post, which Annakim wrote on her own blog today about the notice she received from the city. She writes here how much is sucks that some people just want the world black and white.  (Note – scroll down past several pictures to get to the post…)

I am Annakim’s friend on Facebook and since I am on her list, I received a message from her today about her situation. I told her I would blog about it. Not much a blog can do to make a difference by tomorrow morning, but at least it will make some noise about this — perhaps even allowing her permission to once again paint her sidewalk the color she wants.  She wrote back to me and accepted my gesture to write a blog post and added a few comments about how her house is considered a work of art for its warmth, color and vibes. She wrote about the situation:

“I have to say, it’s very 1984 and I have lived here all my life and traveled the world… When I’m not home (the house gives) a universal symbol of a young girl that does not wish to see alarm systems or gated windows or cops every five secs….”

She’s referring to a yuppie neighborhood popping up around her once artsy ‘hood. Gates and cookie cutter houses. Houses that don’t have personalities and developers making sure it stays that way.  She said there is a growing crime rate, and questions why then, is a focus of the community on harmless purple steps? I’m with ya sister!

I don’t own my home, but I do everything I can to make my rented place as happy and “me” as it can be. I have retro music stuff around my living room and lots of inspirational quotes hanging around my office. My bedroom is Asian-themed with Buddah stuff and such. I like to keep piles of clutter, too, because I feel a certain comfort in having lots of stuff.

I say that all of creative people with a vision of a more colorful world band together and paint our steps purple!!

~Who says exterior design is only landscaping?

~Why can’t we paint our yards? Our steps?

~Why can’t we add some “abnormal” colors to an otherwise white, beige, or brick community?

~Why can’t our sidewalk chalk be permanent?

Henry David Thoureau said, “the world is but a canvas to the imagination.”

I think we have a right to painting that canvas whether it’s a bedroom wall or steps leading to a dream home.

Good luck Annakim. Even if your steps must remain “their” color, you can still paint the world a happier place with everything else you do. Let them be miserable and know that you rock.

P.S. This situation is like a hybrid of two childhood classics, only it’s Annakim and the Purple Paintbrush Battle LA and Where the Sidewalk Painting ends:

Some others have also blogged about this:



About Donna Talarico

Higher ed web marketing. Creative writer. Love word games. View all posts by Donna Talarico

4 responses to “A few (purple) steps to happiness at home… and how Los Angeles wants those steps in one community repainted

  • nancie

    I’ve been inside Anna Kim’s wonderful world-home of eclectic treasures,
    Love and life. The lavender steps leading up remind me that inside her,
    her home and my own imagination is where LOVE begins, is found and
    shared. Those lavender steps represent more than just a color; they ARE
    LOVE. Something desperately lacking in our world; something to be shared;
    something that needs to grow and spread. Long Live Lavender steps. Long Live
    Love Art Freedom. Its a fucking COLOR! Not a bomb or poisonous plastics in
    Our food. Time well spent in that neighborhood is time spent on those
    Lavender Steps. Much love & support to you Anna Kim. You make Love infectious.

  • Donna Talarico

    Thanks for reading and commenting, Nancie! I hope that my little blog post will spread some of that love and awareness around. It’s just BS what she’s going through. I can’t believe it. There are major issues in every small town and city in America, yet the powers that be will dwell on a little color? If I didn’t rent, I would definitely test the law in my neighborhood with my favorite shade.

  • Tanja

    Brava, Annakim AND Donna for such an expedient, well-worded piece. You’re my new favorite blogger!

  • Donna Talarico

    Thanks, Tanja for your note and for tweeting this post! Glad I could help spread the word about this story.

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