Meet the local Tel Aviv artists whose biggest muse is the city

A love song for Tel Aviv, sung by its local artists
© Yuval Robichek
By Joy Bernard |

Tel Aviv is considered to be one of the world’s most attractive tourist attractions, and for a good reason. Some of Israel’s prominent contemporary artists are so deeply drawn to Tel Aviv’s appeal, and identify with its story so much, that they have developed an especially close relationship with the city that never sleeps. They are not merely residents of Tel Aviv; they also think of the city as their primary source of inspiration. These four artists make it their mission to tell the tales of Tel Aviv through their art, placing their greatest muse – the city – at the forefront of their creations.

Four TLV-inspired local artists

Alma Itzhaky
© Elad Sarig

Painter Alma Itzhaky

Painter Alma Itzhaky gives rise to the city’s modern and clear voice in her work, using the medium of figurative painting to shed light on the complex contemporary reality of life in Tel Aviv. Her large and moving paintings are set in the dense environs of Tel Aviv-Jaffa and depict, according to the artist, “social scenes and moments of encounter.” Itzhaky’s latest exhibition, aptly titled The City Is the Pot And We Are the Meat, is a poetic display of tensions between the grey sidewalks of Tel Aviv and the presence of both the people and the birds that pass through it. In another exhibition from 2015, Judea Navalis, which was showcased at the Tel Aviv museum of Art, Itzhaky wrote of her fascination and strong ties to the city: “The day was scorching hot, the asphalt rippling in the heat. A touch of moisture and the smell of salt blended in the dusty air as I sped down Eilat Street on my bicycle. The scent of barbecue blended in as I turned right into Charles Clore Garden…. The hordes of people walking along the shore were dressed in bright colors that glowed intensely in the lingering evening light. They were mostly loud and ugly but I pedaled slowly, turning my gaze from one to the other, taking in as much as I could. I was overjoyed.”

© Ido Biran

Photographer Ido Biran

Biran worked as an architect and film-maker both in Tel Aviv and in Los Angeles until he realized one day that he had to dedicate himself to his one true passion: the White City. He returned to Israel and started wandering Tel Aviv’s streets, hopping on buses and stopping at random to freeze frames of his beloved city. Since he began the project, he’s amassed hundreds of images, many available on his website. Biran directs his lense at the people and bustling intersections of Tel Aviv (his favorite being the sooty and vibrant stretch of Allenby Street), creating an urban portrait of its ever-changing face.

© Yuval Robichek

Illustrator Yuval Robichek

Tel Avivian artist, Yuval Robichek’s work will probably look familiar you to if you glance over his humorous sketches: they have been featured in countless magazines (including his weekly illustrations for Time Out Tel Aviv’s Hebrew edition ) and Instagram feeds, winning over the hearts of art lovers with their accuracy and straightforward satire. Robicheck has worked as an illustrator for decades, at times combining his work with photography. His illustrations display everyday scenes from Tel Aviv as he observes them, with the characters he draws resembling elegant stick figures playing out interactions of the daily grind of loving and living in the bustling metropolis. From post-coital embraces to lazy locales tanning on Tel Aviv’s beaches to funny, painful images of goodbyes and break-ups, Robichek’s artwork speaks a language of its own, serving biting social commentary with a forgiving and comic gaze at Tel Aviv’s residents and the emotional toll the big city life has taken on them.


Graffiti Artist Klone Yourself

Ukraine-born, Tel Aviv-based graffiti artist, Klone Yourself, is one of the most renowned Israeli artists in his field, with global acclaim. Klone’s pseudonym and refusal to reveal his true identity are not the only elements of mystery in his work; he has managed to imbue a sense of ambiguity, surrealism and magic in Tel Aviv by covering it with immense murals, a trademark of his unique work as much as they are an inseparable part of the city’s urban views. Covering structures with larger-than-life, austerely human animals, Klone has used his art to render an alien environment– his own, and bridge between the Diaspora and his new homeland.


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