Meet The Cool Young People Who Are Driving Tel Aviv’s Creative Scene

“If you wanna live in a whirlwind for some time — yalla, this is your place.”

Under the surface of what we take in from mainstream media about Israel and Tel Aviv specifically, there’s a creative scene that is — for lack of a cooler word — thriving. It’d be easy to pin the city’s hot artistic undercurrent on Israel’s obvious conflict, but there’s a real feeling that the push comes from youth who are super competitive when dealing with creativity — a driving force we’re all too familiar with over here in Australia. Plus, young Tel Aviv is super diverse; the unconventional kids come from all over the world, what they give and take from Israeli culture is just as varied, and they all have a different opinion on ‘the bubble’.

So who are these champions of self-expression? We had no idea, so we asked our fave Tel Aviv jewellery label Yoster to round up the best of the best to sit in front of local photographer David Havrony. They came back with twelve, yep twelve, innovative thinkers and doers who gave us a peak at the shape of the city to come.

Andebet Ayala

Jean Paul Gaultier jacket, Outside Society vest, Fendi pants, Yoster jewellery

@andebett

What do you do?
I’m currently a graphic design student and model.

How long you have been in Tel Aviv?
One year.

What do you love about it?
Definitely the ocean.

How has the city influenced you personally and shaped your creativity?
Coming from a restricted home to Tel Aviv, and being in a city of freedom, art and music, it can teach you that you can be whatever you want — anytime, any moment.

Is there anywhere else you would rather be?
I love Israel, but I have to say Seoul. It’s my favourite city in the world.

By the end of this year, how do you hope to have changed?
I want to grow more spiritually, be able to express what I’m feeling and be more patient.

Andrey Missin(g)

Replay vest, Jil Sander pants from Tactic TLV, Moschino sunglasses, Yoster jewellery

@mi_ss_ing

What do you do?
I’m pretty sure I’m an artist. I paint on all types of surfaces.

How long have you been living in Tel Aviv?
I’ve been living here for 4 years.

What do you love about it?
I love the beach, the south side of city, the drugs, the girls, the energy, the fact you can be gay here.

Conflict is everywhere, but how is it different in Tel Aviv. Or is it the same?
In Tel Aviv you have the option to be ignorant and happy about the conflict. Is there anywhere else you’d rather be? Yes. I’d love to leave earth if I get the chance.

By the end of this year, how do you hope to have changed?
I hope to be less angry.

Dana Toder

Dolce & Gabanna top from Tactic TLV, own underwear, Maison Margiela shoes, Yoster jewellery

@danatoder

What do you do?
I’m a production and social media manager, and I’m starting fashion design studies at the university in a couple of months.

How long have you been living in Tel Aviv?
I’ve lived 10 minutes away from the city all my life, but moved with my boyfriend three years ago.

What do you love about it?
Probably the fact that everyone is constantly complaining and talking about moving abroad, yet we all truly believe it’s the best city in the world.

How has the city influenced you personally and creatively?
I feel like the young generation of Tel Aviv, including me, is very competitive for the good and for the bad. It can put you under a lot of pressure but, for me, it works out great because when I’m in a creative and motivated environment I automatically get inspired.

Conflict is everywhere, but how is it different in Tel Aviv. Or is it the same?
I think what’s different in Tel Aviv is that it’s very easy to ignore the whole conflict since we’re not in a war zone and it’s a very liberal, chill city. For me I think it’s harder because I’ve always been very aware about what’s going in the political world, both in Israel and in our surroundings. I can’t ignore it and I’m pretty active and vocal about politics and conflicts.

Eden Farkas

Sonia Rykiel top, Dolce & Gabbana corset and sandals from Tactic TLV, Aspesi pants from Tactic TLV, Yoster jewellery

@ms._eden_

What do you do?
I currently work at a bar, but I am still trying to understand what I really want to do.

How long have you been living in Tel-Aviv?
I moved to Israel five years ago, so I have lived in Tel Aviv since the beginning.

How has the city influenced you?
This city has made me more confident, and grow up much faster than others I know from other places I have lived in. Obviously I have so much more to work on but I can truly say that this is my city.

Conflict is everywhere, but how is it different in Tel Aviv. Or is it the same?
In some ways I want to believe that Tel Aviv is more open to different ideas, but then again people in Tel Aviv really do live in a bubble. This topic in particular is regarded differently in Tel Aviv than in other cities in our country.

Is there anywhere else you’d rather be?
No, I really love being part of this country and truly feel I belong here more than many places I have lived in. I do however want to go study somewhere else just for the experience. I always want to have new experiences, it’s thrilling and fun getting out of your comfort zone sometimes.

By the end of this year, how do you hope to have changed?
I hope I come to the conclusion of what I want to study next year, stop being scared of expressing myself, and last but not least learn to take things easy.

Franziska Knupper

Own top, Ganni leggings from Boutique Verner, Sonia Rykiel shoes from Tactic TLV, Yoster jewellery

What do you do?
I’m a writer.

How long have you been living in Tel-Aviv?
Six years, on and off, always on the line between Berlin and Tel Aviv.

What do you love about it?
I guess this little spot on earth makes me stir my things up. I sweat out my convictions on a daily basis. If you wanna live in a whirlwind for some time — yalla, this is your place.

How has the city influenced you?
Tel Aviv pretends to be big while being small. You can walk in between skyscrapers all the while knowing everyone. You can have small-town fears on big boulevards. That’s good and bad, that’s push and pull — gets me every time.

Conflict is everywhere, but how is it different in Tel Aviv. Or is it the same?
Everyone knows it’s a bubble. We beach and bar and buy, while rockets hit the soil 80km south. It’s an island-mindset — tricky yet understandably so — in the middle of dust and politics, it’s Miami Beach and startups, pride, art, body and hipster-sit-ins and another chaser. Surrender to the unknown pleasures of developing a split personality if you choose to live here.

Is there anywhere else you’d rather be?
Super Stringing into the sixth dimension, my friend’s Schrebergarten in Berlin-Neukoelln or floating inside a big glass of Maibowle (white wine, Waldmeister, strawberries, cold water).

By the end of this year, how do you hope to have changed?
I see myself changing from earth to water, hopefully like that I find balance in the movement — a challenge of mine for many years.

Ibrahem (Buddha) Khatib

Own kimono, Yoster jewellery

@buddhakha

What do you do?
I’m the manager of the Breakfast and Milk nightclub.

How long have you been living in Tel-Aviv?
I’ve been living in Tel Aviv for the past 11 years.

What do you love about it?
The diversity of people, ideas, languages ‏and tradition in Tel Aviv — all those things get blended together and this is what makes the Tel Aviv that I know and love.

How has the city influenced you?
Well, for me as a young Palestinian who grew up in Israel and couldn’t find himself part of the Israeli Community neither of the Palestinian traditional community, Tel Aviv was a safe zone. In the city I found myself a place to grow up, community, friends and plenty of love.

Conflict is everywhere, but how is it different in Tel Aviv. Or is it the same?
Unfortunately it comes in waves and that depends on the country’s overall political situation and conflict. That means in Tel Aviv I can find people that really believe in partnership and want to build a new future together, because it is the financial capital of the country, so we have more of the opportunity to break the glass ceiling. But, we live in an on-and-off war and every time there is one I can see change in the discourse.

Muhammad Toukhy

Missoni top, Roberto Cavalli pants from Vanity Boutique TLV, Yoster jewellery

@m.touk

What do you do?
I study art.

How long have you been living in Tel Aviv?
I was born and raised in Jaffa, an ancient coastal city near Tel Aviv, living there for almost 20 years.

How has the city influenced you?
Spending so much time as a teenager in Tel Aviv while being an openly queer Palestinian in Jewish Israeli spaces, made me see things in my own specific perspective most of the time. I grew up constantly asking myself questions about my identity and place in a Zionist country. And being exposed to the wide artistic scene of Tel Aviv made me go for my own creative research.

Is there anywhere else you’d rather be?
Pre-Israelised Jaffa.

By the end of this year, how do you hope to have changed?
By growing my hair and getting better at cooking.

Odelia Atlsovitch

Jean Paul Gaultier jacket, Jil Sander top from Tactic TLV, Ganni pants, Roberto Cavalli shoes, Yoster Jewellery

What do you do?
I sculpture in time.

How long have you been living in Tel-Aviv?
I’m always going from one place to another. Always moving.

What do you love about Tel-Aviv?
Tel Aviv is a city with peeling walls and a blue sea, aromas of the market, everything close. The waves of the sea touch every bit and part of the land but with it every corner and alley is different from the other. People dancing to techno on one side and on the other side of the city a man feeding cats. Jaffa is full of stones of her own while Tel Aviv is full of the ‘white city; architecture, and the moon holds it all together.

How has the city influenced you?
The city invites you to join her unique rhythm. Always walking from one place to the other in the dripping heat. The streets are full with different sounds, one men walks and another sings, a child passes, a bar, people smoking cigarettes at the cafe. I’m grateful for creating cinema from Tel Aviv, Israel. Creating films that aren’t American or European is a privilege, we bring new and different language and colours into the world, from the starting point we have a different outlook and perception to the medium.

Conflict is everywhere, but how is it different in Tel Aviv. Or is it the same?
The Israeli conflict exists and flaws throughout the country. From my perspective there’s no ‘bubble’ around the city — we must live our lives with awareness to ourselves and our neighbours, and to the world we live in.

By the end of this year, how do you hope to have changed?
To keep moving, create and be attentive to myself my surroundings and nature. To learn from my mistakes, create from an inner place.

PHD. Ariel Max Levy

Own biker suit, Louis Vuitton shoes, Yoster jewellery

@outside.society

What do you do?
Most of my time is dedicated primarily to generally feeling bad for Kiano Ribs but the rest of my time is dedicated to my fashion business Outside Society. We have a shop in downtown Tel Aviv and ship worldwide via our website. We primarily resale luxury and high-end brands alongside rare and unique vintage, but we also keep a few local brands we believe in.

What do you love about Tel Aviv?
From an objective point of view, I truly believe Tel Aviv is a true miracle of mankind. It’s barely 100 years old but has already become a regional empire of culture, innovation and pluralism — in the most unlikely of places. It is a haven for disenfranchised people not only in Israel but also neighbouring territories. It is also a city with financial possibilities that rewards talent and innovation and enjoys a very high quality of living.

How has the city influenced you?
It actually made me a fundamentally curious person. When I first met the city and was young and naive, every corner street was new and romantic and held a thousand promises and possibilities. The people I met were alien to me, they seemed to know so much that I didn’t — that pushed and encouraged me to fall in love with knowledge and the possibilities of a multicultural experience in life.

Conflict is everywhere, but how is it different in Tel Aviv. Or is it the same?
I don’t know man, life is full of conflict — period. That’s the bread and butter of every religion, culture and modern judicial system. I’m strongly oriented towards individualism and my own experience, so do the various geo-political conflicts in the country and region fundamentally affect my experience of life in Tel Aviv, or life in Tel Aviv in general for that matter? I think not — Tel Aviv is commonly referred to as ‘the bubble’ for its hedonistic nature.

Is there anywhere else you’d rather be?
Nope. Not right now in any case. I think when you’re in a place that doesn’t have anything left to teach you — that’s the time to pack your shit and head for the next step.

Ron Tsaban

Ganni top from Boutique Verner, Gianfranco Ferre pants from Boutique Vanity TLV, Yoster jewellery

@iamronki

What do you do?
I am a music producer and a model.

How long have you been living in Tel Aviv?
Something like five years now.

How has the city influenced you?
Growing up in a small town, I had a lot of experiences that made me feel very different and insecure. When I moved to the city, I finally felt comfortable expressing myself without being so self-conscious about what anyone around me might think say or do about it.

Is there anywhere else you’d rather be?
Right now, anywhere. I don’t feel too attached to this one place, and I love traveling. I do feel like that’s my base, and where most of my loved ones are at.

By the end of this year, how do you hope to have changed?
I’m currently working on a few projects that I would love to see come to life in the near future.

Sami Zibak (Samira)

Outside Society top, Maje skirt, Yoster jewellery

@samizibak

What do you do?
I’m a queer Palestinian DJ, a tarot reader and the author of Emotional Encounters in the Age of Individualism.

How long have you been living in Tel Aviv?
I was born in Jaffa, a small Arabic port city next to Tel Aviv. She is 4000 years old, and Tel Aviv originated 100 years ago as a neighbourhood of Jaffa. So I have been here since I was born 29 years ago.

What do you love about Tel Aviv?
In a troubled land like Israel, it is nice to have a place like TLV that works as a sanctuary to all individuals — that doesn’t want to take part in the racism, homophobia and ignorance that is wide spread all over the country. But, sometimes Telavivans are the most ignorant because of ‘the bubble’.

How has the city influenced you?
In my case, I was the one who shaped TLV’s personality and creativity. Being the first Arab to come out of the closet publicly and in popular media, and being the first early bird to introduce the androgynous gender approach to both the fashion industry and nightlife scene in TLV back in 2007.

By the end of this year, how do you hope to have changed?
I hope to be as much independent on all levels, from spiritual to material, from mental to emotional. And to become clearer and clearer with my message to the world!

Silvi Sivan Cohen

Dolce & Gabbana dress from Outside Society, own shoes, Yoster jewellery

@mama_liga_

What do you do?
Right now, I feel that most of my interests are thoughtful — inside of my mind. The practical, visual, and material parts of life, less touching me these days. I’m a stylist and sometimes a DJ.

How long have you been living in Tel Aviv?
Three and a half years.

What do you love about it?
In all my 22 years in earth — home was not always understood. Things changed and it was unstable. When I was 19, I moved to TLV cause I was dreaming at night about the word home. I knew I was going to get that here. People here made me feel so safe secured and loved. People can be good to you for no reason, and the food here is very nice.

Conflict is everywhere, but how is it different in Tel Aviv. Or is it the same?
Life is full of conflicts. It doesn’t matter if you live in a country, box, or a shell. Yesterday, in the middle of TLV, I held my body against cars and buses in order to stop the traffic in demonstration, because a cop killed an 18 year old black kid. Well, I think that every word in this sentence is a conflict. I think death hurts, and hurt brings death. The conflict is very deep inside of each one of us.

By the end of this year, how do you hope to have changed?
I hope i’ll get stronger smarter and richer.

Photography: David Havrony
Fashion: Ben Zeiger
Hair and Make-up: Roza Shwartsman
Production: Yoster

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