I’ve strolled by this Santa Monica Boulevard-adjacent space walking from my apartment to other West Hollywood destinations, unaware of the artistic uprising brewing behind its storefront. I discovered on Saturday night, and much to my excitement, that the lease sign was gone. The place now belongs to COUP!—a collaborative pop-up store, art gallery, and creative space shared by L.A.-based companies Cult Gaia, Crybaby Presents, and The Tappan Collective. At first glance, it’s obvious that COUP! is a store filled with fine art, fashion pieces, and lifestyle products by emerging artists. It’s home to a lot of eye candy, co-founders included, but after speaking with each of them I learned that COUP! is also an artistic approach; a successful motion forwards; a shared space where creativity is not only discovered, but cultivated.
The Tappan Collective
The first thing I saw upon entering COUP! was a wall of art— a framed photograph of a neon motel, a Native chief blotted in heavy ink—a collage of works from the Tappan Collective archive. Founders Chelsea Neman and Jordan Klein, friends since their days at the University of Michigan and distributors of funky “Tap That!” stickers, wanted to bridge the gap between rising artists and young collectors. The result? Their selection of original artwork, limited edition prints, and tasteful frames now available online and in a space "more inviting than the stark white gallery."
I first met Crybaby designers Lisa Ziven and Dakota Solt at the GenArt Fresh Faces of Fashion show in October where they previewed their Spring/Summer 2013 Collection “Le Picnic Parade”. It was a pleasure to see them again and wearing prep-punk pieces from their Holiday 2012 collection “Tartan Tuesdays” (clothing and home goods now available at COUP! or online). I also spoke with Dakota about “Burlington Screenshots,” her series of plaid-like prints derived from the half-frames of analog television commercials that aired in the 60s. These prints, a nostalgic dialogue between analog and digital, are amongst The Tappan Collective’s featured works.
I can now confirm that no party is complete without its fair share of floral headbands and fabric “turbands,” whimsical accessories by Cult Gaia mastermind Jasmin Larian. These colorful crowns hung from the ceiling and adorned the heads of party guests, men and women alike (even DJ Turbotito of Poolside was spotted in one). According to our two favorite Crybabies, Jasmin was "the catalyst that pulled [them] all together," having found the perfect space for these three brands to intersect and grow.
Top left to right: The Tappan Collective Gallery Wall & Cult Gaia Floral Headband
Bottom left to right: Chelsea and Jordan of The Tappan Collective & "Tartan Tuesdays" apparel by Crybaby Presents.
7908 Santa Monica Blvd. West Hollywood, CA
Store Hours: Sundays 12-5PM, Tuesdays-Saturdays 11-6PM, closed Mondays.