From day 1 in January 1984 my studio was a “sterile” area. Locked gate, 10 steps below. Phone off the hook or silenced, most of the time. Music, or silence. AC cooling or heating. In my wildest dreams I wouldn’t have imagined people walking in.
In 2015, Tzlila Hurvitz, then my life partner, and later my wife, then my ex wife but work partner, whose base was in Rosh Pina, Galilee, had the idea of opening the studio to the public and selling paintings as in a gallery.
It seemed to me preposterous. Madness. Nobody would come and nobody would buy. Israelis don’t buy original paintings. Tourists? Nobody will come. If yes, they won’t buy.
Tzlila didn’t take no for an answer. She drilled my head with her dream.
I said I cannot work with the knowledge that someone might walk in on me. “Art is intimate no less than making love”, I said. “I need total privacy and peace”.
She said, “Will you continue driving across America, setting up your booth in rain and tornado warnings, fly across the Atlantic Ocean 7 times a year and back, till when? Here you have a gem location. A little upgrading the place, and people will swarm here to buy paintings.”
It did sound tempting to do less shows, fly less miles, drive less miles, then do no more shows and sell out of my own studio? A dream. I have learned from people who always say “no” to every new idea… to say “yes” to every new idea. So I finally said yes.
We made plans, a budget, and a schedule. The place looked like a studio, plus storage, plus living quarters of a single man, plus a huge, dense mess. There was endless work.
Three months and $15,000 later it looked beautiful. We began to wreck our brains on how to lure people over. A month went by without a sale. Then a woman from New Jersey bought a small painting. In January 2016 things began to move a little.
I couldn’t believe my eyes. Tourists from the world over and Israelis, were walking up the steps, and entering my studio, looking at every piece, asking questions, even buying.
Within 4 years it grew to be a little Mecca. The Chinese trip advisor app recommended coming to the Yoram Gal studio as a first must in Tel Aviv. People from Europe, America, Australia, Asia, Israel, recommended to family, friends and business associates to visit the studio. Paintings were getting shipped to almost 40 countries.
I saw my work going to Czechoslovakia, China, Canada, Singapore, Germany, Switzerland, and many more. Even, believe it or not, Israelis, more and more Israelis, were buying original paintings! “A miracle,” I thought.
Tzlila proved to be a shrewd business woman and a fantastically friendly host. I let her lead. She is doing it absolutely incredibly well to this day, and if it weren’t for the 2 year Covid closure of Israel to non residents of Israel, we would now be at record attendance, fame and sales.
I thank Tzlila deeply, for her vision and stamina, tenacity and soulfulness with which she has nourished, loved and grew the studio to become “the authentic little gem in Old Jaffa” as many visitors call it, which attracts more and more and more people and art lovers the world over.
Studio Hours: 10:30am – 5:30pm
SPECIAL APPOINTMENTS: CALL TZLILA HURVITZ, STUDIO-GALLERY MANAGER: