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.
My neighbor’s antique tin (she told me she bought it at the jaffa flea market) with a plant in it inspired me to walk around our neighborhood a shoot some of the adorable urban gardens and entryways. It’s one of my favorite things about this area—the Kerem Hateimanim and Nachalat Binyamin neighborhoods of Tel Aviv (surrounding shuq hakarmel), which have narrow streets and a lot of low-roofed houses that give it a really charming and village-like feel. It’s nice to see how people incorporate plant-life into private and shared spaces around the neighborhood. Enough words—now for some pictures.
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.