You might remember the Royal/T Café as the venue from Amber Nolan’s fascinating art show Tag You’re It. If not, check out the piece here. The Royal/T is the kind of space that, upon entering, you automatically feel inspired and really, really cool. One of Culver City’s best-kept creative secrets, you won’t want to miss out on the excellent food and friendly atmosphere, not to mention to superbly curated gift shop (Pantone paint chip mugs? Kitschy cool plastic jewelry? Yes please!).
Walk past the huge art installations, through a hall wallpapered with pictures of costumed Japanese teenagers, and you’ll find a large space in the back. This time it was filled with racks of vintage clothing and accessories in every color, print, and style for the first ever ReCollections Vintage Swap and Shop, an event featuring vintage vendors specializing in 1940’s, 1950’s, and 1960’s clothing and accessories. It’s rare to find such a diverse assortment of high-quality vintage clothes, but the vendors really delivered with selections of Bakelite jewelry, crazily printed men’s shirts, and stunning cocktail dresses.
And it wasn’t just the selection of clothes and accessories that was amazing. The knowledge of the vendors, as well as many of the event’s attendees, about the items went above and beyond average. Clearly, buying and selling vintage clothes isn’t just a pastime for these people, it’s a passion, and they do it exceptionally well.
Racks were exceedingly well-curated and it was easy to find styles from every era in a wide assortment of sizes. Vendors weren’t just approachable, they were happy to volunteer information and answer questions from even the most excessively curious guests. Attendees were encouraged to join in bringing items for the swap rack, which made it even more of a community event. This wasn’t just a shopping event, it was an opportunity for like-minded men and women to come together and celebrate their passion for vintage clothing and accessories. Hopefully this isn’t a one-time event, and I’ll be sure to post updates about any similar events in the future. Meanwhile, if you find yourself in Culver City be sure to stop by the Royal/T for some milk tea, made with the café’s unique secret recipe, and enjoy the fantastic creative atmosphere.
There is too good much to say about the Royal T Cafe. It is the kind of place that is good enough on the inside that I wouldn’t mind paying an admission fee just to enter. The food is amazing(try the french toast) the staff is energetic and courteous, there is a live DJ playing music for Sunday brunch and there is a standing art show in the space along side a gift shop.
The current show in place is Tag You’re It by Culver City’s own Amber Noland. Partitioning some time away from her own business Art Collection Management Inc. operation she has put together this exhibit showcasing fascinating work that can be appreciated by all ages. What runs through the mind of a curator? What stands out to someone who spends their life looking at amazing art? Amber was obliging to offer a bit of insight as to what helped her put this together and what keeps her going.
What inspires you?
I am inspired by nature, cultural crafts of a people, the human experience, concepts in art, connecting to artists, a gorgeous day.
In life you know, what keeps you going? Has it changed or has it always been the same?
I wake up every morning inspired. This has been something I have done since I was a child. My father used to tell me that I woke up happy. It’s true. The daily potential and possibility to create what is ahead, and that eventually turns into a life.
What keeps me going? My children. They are both so different and I love and admire how they look at the world. I learn a lot from them.
What is your favorite color, what about your personality does it reflect?
Color is an essential part of my life. I am an aesthetic junkie, so I must have an environment both home and office that reflects my mood in furniture and in color. In my office I have walls that are deep yellow gold paired with gray, calming and inspiring for me to get my work done. I have turn of the century Indian prints that are stunning that a friend sells in NY. When I visit him, he pulls out these luscuious 100 year old prints with vibrant stunning colors and tells me about the history of the images in the prints. I must have these around me. History, color, spirituality, they have it all. I must remain calm in the storm at work, and the yellow inspires me, it has energy.
At home, I have a tiffany blue wall. Art actually looks beautiful on colored walls. My couches must be white. The blue at home is calm, gorgeous, grounding and I need that at the end of the day. I have art everywhere in my life.
What did you want to be when you grew up? How do you feel about what you have become?
I wanted to be a poet when I grew up. I had words in me, deep feelings, emotional constitution, thoughts…somehow words fulfilled that for me. As I got older, my mothers artist background and fathers entreprenurial spirit dropped right into me. I went on to get my BFA from Otis and then MFA from CGU, and then started my own business managing private art collections in my late 20’s. I’ve now been in business for myself for almost 20 years.
Professionally what has made you successful?
What I believe has made me successful is having a mentor. I was mentored by an incredible art collector, gallery owner and woman, Ruth Bloom. This happened in my mid 20’s and she set me on a path that has led me to today. You never know where you will be, so I have walked through the doors that were in front of me. People inspire, you must listen, have respect, and never assume you know more than anyone else, be grateful, and listen listen listen.
How did you get together with Royal T café?
I met Susan Hancock, the owner of Royal T, at an art fair a few years ago. We connected over her incredible collection and became friends. Royal T is a special place. There is nothing like it in Los Angeles, and Sue is a vibrant creative thinker. I worked with her on her exhibitions at Royal T and then she asked me to curate the next show. As for the art show, tell me why you call it Tag You’re it?
The exhibition is focused on tagging our next generation of art lovers and making a link between the sensation of collecting. The exhibition is hung at youth eye level and there is a game of art tag you can play that draws you into the work longer, deeper, and perhaps will make one think a little longer about what they are looking at.
What criteria did you use to select what was a part of the collection?
I borrowed works from collectors, dealers and artists in Los Angeles as well as from Susan Hancock’s collection. The show is intended to be thought provoking, and to introduce stories, thoughts and materials to young viewers without dumbing anything down. Kids are very smart. A lot smarter than we give them credit for. They also have the ability to be uncensored and express a reaction to artworks that we as adults may miss. This had been my favorite part of the exhibition. The criteria? What will they think or feel when they see this piece of art?”
Do you have a piece that is particularly special to you in the show? The work by Gustavo Godoy, who is represented by Honor Fraser, is astunning work that embodies what the exhibition is truly about. The artist made this piece specifically for this exhibition. He incorporates a lot of his familial history in the work, roots in TJ Mexico, architecture, struggled circumstances and modernism, yet it is not overt and is elegant in its construction.
What’s next or where are you normally?
Curating is my passion. I curate daily actually – seeing and editing. I see a lot of art, all the time. I have my own business where I specialize in the care of large private art collections, with respect to insurance, value and estate planning among many other things. Where do I go from here? I am always open to the impossible!
Both Amber and Susan were a joy to meet with. The exhibit will be running through mid April but if you can’t swing by check out this clip from the opening night shot at the eye level of a 9 year old kid.
Royal T Cafe is an amazing space and the opening was brilliantly put together. I can’t wait to see what is next for Amber and if you find your self on the West side of Los Angeles, there is no better place to stop into check out some masterful work in a unique setting. Royal T Cafe has provided the space, Amber has put together a great exhibit, and Citizens Of Culture has let you know where to go, since there are no more excuses only thing left to do is act.
Royal T Cafe Address
8910 Washington Blvd.
Culver City, CA 90232
T 310 559 6300 F 310 559 6633