There’s a small stretch of Sawtelle Bl that is the Westside’s version of Little Tokyo. In all my years of living near this area, I never spent time over there, but Saturday I needed to go to Giant Robot to look for a gift for a friend, and found some pleasant surprises. They’ve got the Culture Shock Trifecta of Food, Fashion and Art that will keep me coming back (especially since I did not get my fix of Ramen or Shaved Ice as I opted for a delicious meal at Chego on Overland afterwards).
First stop was Giant Robot where we picked up a Gary Baseman vinyl figure from the Hot Cha Cha Cha series from a few years back (it’s being used as creative inspiration for an album my husband is producing), and while there I couldn’t resist picking up a blind box item from the Jibibuts “Artist Collection”.
I rarely speak of collectibles, but for those of you collectible neophytes out there, a blind box item is a play on a Japanese Gashapon toy. Think of it as a designer, adult version of the capsule toys you used to get out of a vending machine. Twelve featured artists all contributed a uniquely designed, painted wooden piece that looks like a modern kokeshi doll. You don’t know which artist you are going to get until you open the box. Since I recognized a number of the artists featured, I had to buy one, and I ended up getting Squink’s design.
It’s so cute sitting on my desk. Giant Robot has a huge collection of gifts, toys, collectibles and a great library of graphic design and art books. It’s hard not to spend an entire afternoon in this store alone.
A half a block down Sawtelle, we also stopped by “I am Fine” — Eishi Takaoka’s solo exhibition at Giant Robot 2’s gallery across the street from the store. His work was quite stunning in that it features carved wooden heads all sharing the same morose expression, yet each are adorned in a variety of backdrops, halos and other refinery that lend a unique story to each piece.
Lastly, I rounded out my Sawtelle stroll by stopping into In Residence, a beautifully curated store that carries a unique collection of items that “give back” (plus they have an amazing collection of affordable, stylish handbags). I’m really intrigued by the whole B1G1 model that companies like Warby Parker and Toms have chosen to employ. While at In Residence I picked up a beautifully designed bracelet by 31 Bits (perfect for summer whites) and a croched hat by Krochet Kids for my husband (a wise investment for winter).
For more on In Residence check out their website.
For more on collectibles and all things cute, check out Supahcute, a great blog curated by fellow recovering foodie!