Arte de la Vida is a treasure trove of vintage Mexican finds perfect for those in search of handmade beauty.
My mother made a wonderful discovery. She stumbled upon Arte de la Vida in Tucson where she lives. Walking inside feels like 1970’s Tijuana. Shopping in Tijuana in the 1970’s was fun, but looking back it was incredible. Musicians played in each arcade defining the Tijuana experience. The aggressive flirtatious sales tactics were entertaining while being slightly annoying. Shopping was the highlight followed by a cold coca cola at the end of a long day.
In México, like everywhere, things made long ago were made better.
In those days there were singular handmade items of spectacular quality not seen in Tijuana anymore.
One particular store, Tolan’s, was an enormous two-story warehouse with many rooms of shelves lined with glasses in every shape and in every imaginable color. There were also light fixtures, hand-painted dishes and bathroom fixtures, tin ornaments as well as other tin arts such as mirrors, waster paper baskets, frames, etc. Walking into Arte de la Vida felt a little like Tolan’s. The first room of the store had rows of the beautiful old-style glasses unlike what are available now.
Arte de la Vida’s owners have passion matching that of the craftsmen they feature.
Kevin hunts for treasure while James mans the store with their two dogs. Both men are delightful and knowledgable about Méxican folkart. Their store features clothing, jewelry, santos, a wall of sombreros, black oaxacan pottery, and so much more. Every visit reveals something unusual. The store is dangerous if you are a lover of Méxican crafts. Seeing rare items makes it difficult to pass them up because they likely won’t be seen again. Arte de la Vida is to be entered cautiously if you are a Méxican folkart lover with hoarding tendencies.
If you dare to open Pandora’s box, follow Arte de la Vida on Instagram.
Casa V can select Mexican treasures for your home to give it a touch of passion and handmade beauty.