By day, Paul Curran works in the tech industry, but after work he shifts his focus to drawing the vibrant set of the many neighborhoods featured on “Drawing Tel Aviv,” his animated, colorful Instagram page celebrating the city’s aesthetic.Curran, a Vancouver native who immigrated to Israel in 2012, moved to Tel Aviv upon arrival, and has since made the city his anchor in Israel. As a self-proclaimed architecture nerd, he has become completely enamored with the architecture of Tel Aviv, as well as its history.“I’m fascinated by neighborhoods,” said Curran. “Given the limitations on our movement during COVID, I think people have become much more passionate about their neighborhoods.” Kerem HaTeimanim is his favorite Tel Aviv neighborhood, essentially his “personal center” of Tel Aviv where he spends his Friday afternoons “drinking with friends, having hummus, and enjoying Yemenite soup.”Curran delved further into the historical narrative of Tel Aviv: “I live in Jaffa, and looking down one street, you could see buildings that are hundreds of years old next to super-modern buildings next to something that the British built. In Jerusalem, you see a more ancient perspective, civilization built upon civilization. In Tel Aviv, you get a more modern lens. You’ve got the Ottomans, the British, the socialism of Israel in the ‘70s, really grand architecture from the eclectic era, and now you’ve got insane buildings like in Shanghai and Singapore. It’s essentially a more modern version of the really stretched out history of Jerusalem.”When he originally launched the Instagram page, it was meant to be a low-key personal portfolio, but it has since attracted more than 7,200 followers. His profile reads “What should I draw next?” Naturally, he constantly encourages his followers to inspire new drawings with their own ideas and suggestions. “The biggest satisfaction I get is from drawing things that are meaningful for people,” shared Curran. “On a boring Saturday, I decided to write ‘send me a picture and I’ll draw it’ on my Instagram story, and ended up producing more than 200 drawings. I drew so many requests that I can’t keep track, so now they’re featured under an Instagram highlight on my profile titled ‘requests.’ My key performance indicator is drawing things that make people smile.”The series he is currently working on presents Tel Aviv in a comic-book style, featuring pop-culture and nostalgic elements, such as David Ben-Gurion donning a coronavirus mask or Menachem Begin riding a scooter.Drawing Tel Aviv has led Curran to other artistic projects.
He has designed wine bottles for Tel Aviv’s Wineberry Bar Boutique, as well as Japanese porcelain plates for TLV Icons, an original project by Hibino, a design gallery in Tel Aviv that combines Scandanavian and Japanese culture. Alongside Hibino owner Prag Rokach, Curran worked on TLV Icons for a year and a half, drawing Tel Aviv’s most iconic landmarks and structures onto Hibino’s Japanese porcelain plates with the aim of illustrating Tel Aviv’s unique story. The TLV Icons plates are produced in Japan.“I’m absolutely obsessed with Japan. I study Japanese every day, so TLV Icons was the perfect intersection of art, Japan and Tel Aviv, which is 90% of what I love – not including my wife, of course,” joked Curran.
“The final product is a porcelain plate version of Tel Aviv, an object that can be a part of people’s lives that goes beyond souvenirs because eating off of it while appreciating the different symbols of Tel Aviv makes it more personal.” Currently, Curran is illustrating a children’s book featuring his drawings of Tel Aviv.To check out and purchase Curran’s quirky prints, click on the link in Drawing Tel Aviv’s Instagram bio.