I spent most of my free time in the last month cleaning up a long-neglected apartment in south Tel Aviv with a group of fellow artists. We patched the many craters in the crumbling walls, hauled away mountains of trash left by past tenants, painted everything white, and built a dividing wall in the kitchen.
This place is amazing. They are always featuring fresh artists and designers. Based in Seattle, WA, Velocity Art and Design has been running for ten years now. Unfortunately for me I have only seen their online location, but if I ever visit Seattle their showroom would be the first place I’d go. The website has plenty to offer—beautiful merchandise that’s thoughtfully selected, easy navigation, plus a rich online community through their blog which I’m guessing mirrors the vibrant local community they seem to have created in Seattle.
Last month when I was walking around Jaffa, I discovered The New Gallery after my curiosity led me through a beautiful old archway and then a covered alley. The gallery was right in front of me as I came out the other side, and the classic mid-20th century modern furniture behind their big glass display wall told me I would want to see what else was inside. This place is really on top of their game—elegant arrangements of perfect vintage pieces, accessories, original contemporary art, and thoughtfully selected books and magazines. The building’s domes and arches, typical of old Jaffa, are a real nice compliment to its contents.
We have a new weekly writer! Daniel Klein is a graphic artist whose apartment has been featured in Tchochkes. His design style is really fun. Originally from the US, Dani was an Art Director who has recently gone freelance. His artwork is amazing, BTW. Give him a warm welcome and leave a comment! (A nice one, preferably.) Dani will be posting every Monday. ~ Shira
Dear readers, I am thrilled to kick-off my weekly post on the wonderful world of Tchochkes! You may or may not have picked up on it, but there is a fun art and design trend that has been gaining momentum over the past decade. I’m talking about the vinyl-toy movement—an amalgamation of graffiti artists, designers and limited-edition plastic toys.
The phenomenon originated in China and exploded in Japan, drawing inspiration from pop culture and anime. In the USA, a company called Kidrobot has been at the forefront of popularizing the vinyl-toy culture since 2002, and it is wildly successful. The company collaborates with contemporary street artists to produce collectibles, which are sold for as little as $6. Many of the fabulous tchochkes are actually quite valuable, some having been sold for thousands of dollars. The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) acquired 13 Kidrobot toys in late 2007 for its own permanent collection.
I’ll admit that this may not be an aesthetic that everyone can appreciate, but my own small collection really infuses some personality into the room. Most of the toys are suitable for children, however, many come in raunchy adult themes such as the “Smorkin’ Labbit” series by Frank Kozik featuring bunnies in bondage gear smoking cigarettes.