Kevin Kostner’s story is a story of a young man who found a job in Los Angeles

Roberts Projects is leaving Culver City, as gallery scene shifts to Central L.A.

By Jessica Yung

Last November, a California highway patrol officer named Tom Johnson approached Kevin Kostner and said, “You really want to be one of us?”

Kostner, a 31-year-old architecture student, had just finished grad school in a different, more lucrative city. He had been thinking about moving to the Los Angeles area for awhile, and after talking with his girlfriend, who just graduated from a creative writing program at the University of Southern California, he agreed to talk with the officer.

The officer, Johnson said in the interview, “saw something in him that reminded him a bit of a bull in a china shop,” a reference to the work of artist Robert Duncan.

That night, Kostner said, he met with Johnson and other members of the Culver City Police Department, who were working on a short-term assignment. He found that they were interested in helping him find an apartment in downtown Los Angeles, with one of them — a former LAPD officer named Daniel Sousa — helping to prepare an application for a work visa.

Sousa gave Kostner a booklet with information on apartment hunting, and the young man went on the job market like he had been trained: He went to the Internet, looked at photos on Craigslist and visited websites that advertised apartments in the area, then started calling landlords directly, asking them to help him find a place.

Sousa began by visiting about 100 prospective landlords in Culver City, looking for ones who were willing to rent out an apartment to him for the next six months. (The cost of such an apartment has shot up, and if the landlord refuses to rent out a unit, landlords are now required to rent them out immediately. The maximum rent a landlord can charge is higher now than ever before.)

Once they found a few landlords, they began to put together their own rental application package, a six-page contract and four pages of photographs. (Sousa had been to a photography trade show in Las Vegas, where he bought hundreds of pairs of contact lenses to enhance

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