Nelle has never questioned that graffiti and street art are an intrinsic and important part of cityscapes the world over. Arriving in New York in 1974, she witnessed the birth of graffiti as we know it and was “collecting” Dondi subway cars by middle school. Growing up in SoHo, she was proud that SAMO and Futura 2000 both tagged up on her front door. Graffiti paved the way for street art and in the summer of 1987, Nelle stood by watching as Keith Haring put up a mural at the Carmine Street Pool in New York City.
By the 1990s, Nelle was in San Francisco where Twist’s throw-ups were all over town. The Mission District, where she lived, was home to a burgeoning art scene and it was there that she met Jon Tomlinson. They became fast friends and determined to start a business, Flipside Arts. It was a catalog that featured functional objects made by artists, a precursor to Jon’s present business, Artware Editions.
The birth of Nelle’s first child compelled her to return to New York, and her roots, in 1996. There, she joined her family’s clothing business, Staley/Gretzinger. After several years and a name change to Art to Wear, Nelle came to run the business. During this time, street art was still a touchstone and seeing certain pieces was like sustenance for Nelle’s soul: a Swoon paste-up on the street in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, the Invader mosaic she passed every day in South Williamsburg, Brooklyn on her way to work.
It’s in Jersey City, New Jersey, where Nelle has now made her home since 2015, that her love of street art really came to the fore. It’s here that she discovered How and Nosm (on the wall at Mana Contemporary), Pixel Pancho (two walls downtown) and Eduardo Kobra (180-foot tall David Bowie, baby!). And it’s here that the idea for Street Art Goods was born.
Jon Tomlinson has over 25 years of experience working with artists and artist-designed objects. In 1992, he founded Flipside Arts with Nelle Gretzinger in San Francisco, which specialized in collaborating with Bay Area and European artists to create functional works, thus beginning his fascination in the field. Flipside Arts found immediate success by selling directly to aficionados but also high profile museum stores such as the Whitney.
After moving to NYC, Jon expanded on his involvement with art working as an Associate Director of a non-profit housed at The Door in Soho, the largest youth center in the world. As part of his role in the arts and literacy program, Jon worked with inner-city kids to couple them with a mentor professional in creating an exhibition of their work.
Jon became the Director of Artist / Designer Gallery (A/D) in 2005, which originally opened its doors in the mid 1980s in Soho and was at the forefront of the burgeoning niche. Jon co-founded Artware Editions in NYC in 2006 and is currently the CFO / COO. Artware Editions creates, curates and sells utilitarian objects and furniture by painters, sculptors, and photographers – from emerging / mid-career artists to blue chip artists to artist estates. Artware Editions’ broad range of offerings include a line of furniture by Donald Judd, Limoge porcelain dinnerware by Cindy Sherman, the iconic Table Bleue by Yves Klein, rugs by Josef and Anni Albers, a wool blanket by Mickalene Thomas, a set of plates by Kehinde Wiley, a beach towel by Laurie Simmons, a tote bag by Roy Lichtenstein, wallpaper by Jacob Hashimoto, and much, much more.
It is Jon’s vision to bring the same success that he has had with Artware Editions to Street Art Goods by providing an opportunity for street artists to connect with their supporters and admirers in creating functional works that are accessible, high-quality, thought-provoking, and fun!
Jon currently lives in the West Village of NYC and the North Fork of Long Island.