Shalom Life | July 01, 2014

ArtSetters: A Cool, Creative Forum for Artists Around the World

Shalom Life speaks to Lee Rotenberg, co-founder of the company inspired by Tel Aviv’s trendsetters, allowing art aficionados "to buy unique, handmade, one-of-a-kind products by young talents in far-off cities"

By: Graham Sigurdson & Emily Brewes

Published: December 9th, 2013 in Culture » Art » News

In the twenty-something demographic, it’s all about the scene and being seen, with personal style – be that accessories or apparel – coming before personality.

But why not have both? A style that screams personality, or a personality in service to one’s style. An individuality that doesn’t feel manufactured.

For Israeli residents Alex Schinasi and Lee Rotenberg, that’s exactly what ArtSetters sets out to do.


Existing as both a website, a (now closed) pop-up shop, and a wider creative community, Schinasi and Rotenberg created Artsetters with the goal of bringing attention to the artistic community, not just in Tel Aviv, but worldwide.

The website offers goods from artists in 19 cities, with locations as diverse as Brooklyn, Casablanca, and Hong Kong, while also having a significant presence in neighbouring Lebanon, seemingly transcending the political boundaries of the two countries, though, both Schinasi and Rotenberg agree that politics has nothing to do with their business.

Heavily curated and selected locally (though selling goods from international artists as well), the ArtSetters website offers goods from about 80 different artists, with prices ranging from as low as $4 for stationary, to $1000+ for handcrafted jewelry. With each sale, 80 percent goes directly to the artists, while Schinasi and Rotenberg keep the remaining 20.

The system is meant to encourage loyalty and ensure that the artists and manufacturers can still succeed in their own careers.

Shalom Life’s Emily Brewes spoke to founder ArtSetter founder Lee Rotenberg via email, learning more about the group’s beginnings, operations, goals, and future plans.

Enabling ‘young artists to reach an international audience’

Shalom Life (SL): How did you and Ms. Rotenberg meet? What in particular sparked the idea for Artsetters?

Lee Rotenberg (LR): We met in Tel Aviv at a dinner of our mutual Belgian friend. The idea for ArtSetters came from realizing how the trendsetters in Tel Aviv were unknown abroad, and that not only were they unknown abroad, but those that did know about these talented creatives had no access to the products they made. In a city like Tel Aviv where the creative scene is so vibrant, it still manages to be cut off from the rest of the world. We soon realized that this situation wasn’t unique to Tel Aviv, but a situation for all emerging artists. It’s incredibly hard for emerging talent to break out of their city and go global. ArtSetters aims to grant access to these young creatives before they go mainstream – while they’re still young & affordable. We want to enable buyers to purchase wonderfully unique products by trendsetters in far-off cities, but also enable young artists to reach an international audience. We want to speed-up the process for emerging talent to be introduced to a global marketplace.

(ArtSetters Screenshot)

SL: Why did you decide to locate your operation in Tel Aviv?

LR: ArtSetters is an American company based in Boston; however, as noted above, Tel Aviv inspired the concept. We split our time between the States, Tel Aviv and Europe. We can’t imagine leaving the city long-term since we just find it way too cool. ArtSetters is very much indebted to this wonderful city – its creative scene didn’t just inspire our idea, but the entrepreneurial energy here enabled us to go through with it. Tel Aviv is a city comprised of internationals too, and it’s just very much what ArtSetters is all about.

‘That’s not being a hipster, thats being a lover of creativity’

SL: Given the potentially negative connotations, how do you feel about being associated with ‘hipsters’?

LR: I don’t know if you’d necessarily denote our company as ‘hipster’ or its following as such. What we are is cool. The ArtSetters community doesn’t just follow trends, it creates them. They are the creators of what others follow. At the heart of ArtSetters is the desire to grant access to trends before they become hipster-esque, and that’s what makes it so cool. You’re now able to wear the designs of a young creative in Cape Town while walking down the street of Athens, or wear handmade sunglasses by a Moscow design team while sitting on the beach of the perpetually sunny Tel Aviv, or mount a handmade wood skateboard deck on your wall in Brooklyn by a cool design duo based in San Francisco. ArtSetters allows buyers to buy unique, handmade, one-of-a-kind products by young talents in far-off cities. That’s not being a hipster, that’s being a lover of creativity.

Continue reading on Page 2

Judd Apatow’s ‘The Simpsons’ Episode Will Air After 24 Years Trending Sarah Silverman Apologizes in Advance For Swastika Doodle Trending Mural, Mural on the Wall Brings Animations to Life for Your Children Trending
 

Arabs and Israelis Find Togetherness with Soccer

April 24, 2014 | By Daniel Koren
Arabs and Israelis Find Togetherness with Soccer

After Hapoel Petah Tikva lost many of its players to Israel’s national squad, the founder decided to recruit Arab villagers, creating a positive atmosphere among Arabs and Israelis in the process

Read More

American University To Honor Israeli Professors for Achievements in Suicide Prevention

April 24, 2014 | By Miles Rosenblatt
American University To Honor Israeli Professors for Achievements in Suicide Prevention

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention will be presenting its annual Research Award to two researchers, Professor Gary Diamond of Ben Gurion University and Professor Guy Diamond of Drexel University

Read More

Jewish Wrestler to be Honored at Holocaust Memorial Ceremony

April 24, 2014 | By Ynet News

Jonas Eckstein, a Bratislava-born wrestler, saved thousands of Jews from persecution during the Holocaust

Read More

Maccabi Tel Aviv in Euroleague Final Four

April 24, 2014 | By Daniel Koren

The team is seeking its 6th European championship after beating Emporio Armani Milan last night

Read More

Breakthrough Jew – DJ Tennis

April 24, 2014 | By Sarah Bauder
Breakthrough Jew - DJ Tennis

Manfredi Romano aka DJ Tennis is the co-founder of techno and house label, Life and Death.

Read More

Scarlett Johansson to Join Disney’s ‘The Jungle Book’

April 24, 2014 | By Ashley Baylen
Scarlett Johansson to Join Disney’s ‘The Jungle Book’

ScarJo and Lupito Nyong’o are in negotiations to join Jon Favreau’s live action/CG hybrid film.

Read More

Lenny Kravitz to Release ‘Strut’, His Tenth Studio Album

April 24, 2014 | By Ashley Baylen

Kravitz plans to release the album in September through his own record imprint

Read More

Judd Apatow’s ‘The Simpsons’ Episode Will Air After 24 Years

April 24, 2014 | By Ashley Baylen

Before Apatow became famous for ‘The 40 Year Old Virgin’, he submitted a script to ‘The Simpsons’ in 1990.

Read More

More Headlines