Up until just a few days ago, my artistic theme was black and white drawings of buildings in Tel Aviv with Japanese lettering instead of Hebrew.

With over one million tourists visiting Tel Aviv annually, I wanted to artistically connect with their first experiences in Tel Aviv through Google Map’s Street View and my drawings.

View from HaGdud HaIvri Street in South Tel Aviv

View from HaGdud HaIvri Street in South Tel Aviv

I want to recreate my first experiences in Tel Aviv, when I did not speak Hebrew and all of the street signs were in a language I did not understand, which may as well have been Japanese.

As a new Israeli, and a resident of Tel Aviv, I drew the city’s most famous street corners with a twist: nostalgic Japanese advertising to show how I first saw the exciting, artistic and foreign advertisements and street signs during my first visit to Tel Aviv in 2008.

Steps away from the opulent Neve Tzedeck Tower on Eilat Street

Steps away from the opulent Neve Tzedeck Tower on Eilat Street

This style changed on Thursday evening when I went to an incredible event organized by Guy Seeman and Kol Oleh called “Meet the Candidates,” where candidates running in the municipal elections here in Tel Aviv met with olim to discuss, in English, issues facing Tel Aviv.

It was moving to hear about the contentious subjects that someone in my position (new immigrant, single, late 20s) would barely give a second thought to. Issues like the sorry state of clinics for young children, evictions in areas of Tel Aviv such as Kfar Shalem (just up the street from me!) and the question of whether the pride that comes along with all of Tel Aviv’s international publicity is worth the cost to the city’s social programs.

This event opened my eyes to the issues facing my new city and as a result I am switching my style of art from trying to connect with my days as a tourist to trying to cement my roots here as a resident.

Neighborhood close to Menachem Begin Park in South-East Tel Aviv

Neighborhood close to Menachem Begin Park in South-East Tel Aviv

No longer will I be drawing postcard-esque views of the Tel Aviv. Rather, I will be framing the beautiful skyscrapers that I love with divergent views of rundown buildings, corrugated tin buildings and poverty that can exist just a few hundred meters away.

My drawings will be focused on contrasts that exist here in Tel Aviv on a daily basis, aspects often unseen by the tourists that our city spends so much money attracting.