Words: Jenna Romano
In its beginnings, Tel Aviv was a cultural center that was concerned with reflecting ideas from 20th century Western trends, which took precedence before it developed an aesthetic narrative of its own. In 2018, however, Tel Avivian creatives have become an autonomous entity – one that embodies innovativeness, expertise and artistry.
The independence and equity of Tel Aviv’s contemporary cultural scene compared to those around the world has led to an emerging hype – within it and around it – and the mutual spirit that drives the array of Tel Aviv’s creative worlds together motivates local professionals to influence and support each other. This includes original collaborations where we see fashion, art, design, culinary arts, music and technology merge – suddenly a fashion designer becomes the muse for a local artist; the art world inspires a chef’s culinary presentation; a fashion house becomes an art gallery; and the list goes on.
Conceptually, it is inevitable that collaborations exist – our generation’s fast sharing technology foments a rapid and far-reaching sharing of ideas. But there is an added value that collaborators and audiences alike can appreciate when the fluidity of creativity becomes grounded in a material way.
Since her spring 2013 collection, local fashion designer Maya Bash has had an ongoing collaboration with the well-known artist Zoya Cherkassky. Bash wanted images of people in Tel Aviv who were wearing her designs, and she approached Cherkassky to illustrate them. “When creating a collection, I love to engage in a dialogue with the people around me about their perception of the world,” the designer told Telavivian. With each new season, the artist’s characteristic illustrations are screen-printed onto a specific item in Maya Bash’s collection.
Roni Bar is another Tel Avivian designer who paired with a local artist, Roni Hajaj. Bar’s Summer 2017 collection, I Do attempted to rehabilitate the meaning of wedding wear, and her minimal designs turned into a blank canvas for Hajaj’s work. As the artist hand-painted her intriguing patterns directly onto the fabrics, the I Do collection became a joint statement between them. “I gave Roni full freedom, and I think that’s the beauty of doing a collaboration, that the other person brings themselves to my work.”
Jewelry brand Born From Rock and ceramic designer Avi Ben Shoshan collaborated on a jewelry collection for summer 2018. The collection is an expression of an ongoing dialogue between the designers and the process of using very different materials. Themes of tension and sensuality are playfully drawn out by juxtaposing the hard, geometric and raw materials of Born From Rock’s designs with Ben Shoshan’s soft and organic ceramic forms.
“We live in an interdisciplinary world, where everyone takes inspiration from each other,” says Tel Aviv native Sarah Peguine. Peguine is the founder of Oh So Arty, and a local art advisor who organizes bespoke tours of Tel Aviv’s art scene. The art advisor has also collaborated with other local experts – chefs, wine sommeliers and designers – to incorporate the worlds of culinary arts and wine tasting into her art tours, engaging her audience in a multi-sensory experience that gives them a more comprehensive understanding of Israeli culture.
Trending collaborations are invaluable to Tel Aviv’s smart and successful atmosphere. Not only do they breed openness and potential, the partnerships also become a practical linchpin for heightening exposure and sales. Verner, a shop which brings cutting-edge trends to its Israeli audience, also provides a stage for emerging local artists. Hosting new exhibitions every few months, the store becomes a physical meeting point for art and fashion, drawing in new crowds, and allowing the artists’ visions to interact with shoppers. Past artists exhibited at Verner include Hilla Toony Navok, Vera Vladimirsky and Aviv Grinberg .
Blurring the boundaries between disciplines, Tel Aviv’s collaborations are part of a bigger picture – the multifarious effects are a testament to the city’s own cultural development, unveiling palpable possibilities.