Start: Tokki Art Supply ... — Stop — ... Start: ... opened this summer on Oak Street, its second — Stop — ... home after a short introduction ... — Start — in Bingen.
Owner and stop-motion film veteran Janet O’Sullivan originally opened Tokki Art Supply in Bingen in August 2019. Tokki means “rabbit” in Korean; O’Sullivan was born and raised near Seattle, and her family hails from Korea.
“We have two rabbits at home, I had them as pets as a kid, they have great personalities and are fun and a good representation of the business,” said O’Sullivan
The store idea arose out of her own need to find supplies close by.
“I do a lot of home projects with paper, with my background in stop-motion animation,” O’Sullivan said. “I had trouble finding materials, and was tired of driving to Portland. I opened the shop in Bingen, and I love the community but wanted a bit more foot traffic,” so she closed the shop in 2019 and reopened on Oak in July 2020.
O’Sullivan and Hood River resident Coral Polson were nominated in 2020 for an Oscar for their work on film “Missing Link,” done by Hillsboro's Laika Studios, where Polson still works. O’Sullivan left Laika in 2017, and had been commuting to New York for work as a stop-motion miniature fabricator for commercials.
Her work there included craft paper sets and figures for Amazon Prime commercials. She studied at the School of Visual Arts in New York City and did cartooning and other graphic work before accepting an internship that got her into the world of stop-motion.
“The main inspiration for why I wanted to start an art supply store in the Gorge was because there was no place to get quality supplies without having to travel all the way to Portland,” she said. “I try to focus on getting as much locally as possible, with several brands that are made in Portland and West Linn.
“The arts community in the Gorge is so incredible and supportive that we decided it was worth the risk to leap across the river and move Tokki Art Supply to downtown Hood River. We re-opened at 409 Oak on July 8.”
Her husband, Joseph, is a distiller at Clear Creek Distillery in Hood River.
“And we feel so lucky to be able to meet more of our community members and see some of the fantastic work that people have been making during quarantine,” O’Sullivan said. “And to give guidance for those who are finding that they finally have the time to dip their toes into a new medium. It truly seems as though difficult times inspire creativity.
“With the fact that there are so many amazing artists and students in our community I knew that I wasn’t alone in the need for a local art supply store,” she said.
“Our location in Bingen allowed us to take the time and hear feedback from the community in the kinds of materials, brands, and tools they need and I’ve curated my shop accordingly. We carry oil, acrylic, watercolor and gouache paints and mediums, as well as drawing tools and craft related supplies. And of course, canvas, sketchbooks and larger sheets of paper. We have a little bit of everything.”
Tokki offers curbside pick-up and shipping through its online shop www.tokkiartsupply.com.
Store hours are Sunday and Monday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
'Art at Home' provides supplies
O’Sullivan, who lives near Bingen, kept her link to the Bingen community in a recent project with White Salmon Valley School District and White Salmon Arts Council and the White Salmon Valley Education Foundation. She said that at the beginning of the state-wide coronavirus shutdown, “I realized there were so many students in the school district that were without art supplies. And for some kids art is essential.
“So, we took the initiative to reach out and coordinate with the art teachers in the school district, specifically Patricia Carpenter and Kelsey Lemon, helped get us funding for over 400 art supply kits for the students who are on lunch assistance, this program we called Art At Home.
“These were distributed through the amazing bus drivers who were out there delivering lunches every morning,” O’Sullivan said. “We were able to get this going in just over a week and delivered to the students within a few weeks.
"We try our hardest to give back to the community through the means we can and we wanted these students to know that we were all thinking about them through this difficult time.”