Crush & Touch is a hub for artists in the neighborhood

Crush Touch
Outside signage for Crush and Touch, located on York Boulevard in Los Angeles, CA. Nov. 12, 2022. Dylan Herbert/The Occidental

Crush & Touch Art Supply’s eye-catching blue storefront opens to reveal the colorful array of products and artwork that lay inside, carrying a chromatic selection of art supplies, stickers, jewelry and other trinkets. Crush & Touch originally began five years ago as two separate stores, Crush and Touch, which were located across the street from one another along York Boulevard. Eventually, due to the pandemic, co-founders and married couple Katie and Scott Grover combined both locations into one shop.

Scott Grover said that he went to school for photography; Katie Grover is an illustrator and a designer. According to Grover, they began thinking about a studio and retail space for Katie’s products, including greeting cards, keychains and pins. The idea evolved into Crush, which was founded in 2018 as a neighborhood hub for independent artists’ creations. Touch was founded a year later as an art supply store, according to Scott Grover.

“Once [Crush was] open for a little bit, we started to hear from the neighborhood,” Scott Grover said. “[We realized] there’s a need for art supplies, right here. Because before we opened the art supply side, you had to drive five miles out to get any art supplies. You’d have to leave the neighborhood to get even your basic things.”

Crush Touch
Some of the things you can buy inside Crush and Touch, located on York Boulevard in Los Angeles, CA. Nov. 12, 2022. Dylan Herbert/The Occidental

According to Grover, many of the pieces available at Crush & Touch are submissions from various artists — either through email, or just from people walking into the shop and handing in their business cards. He also said that he likes to support artists by frequenting craft fairs to find new things to add to the shop. As a result, Grover said they carry a wide variety of goods.

Emily Lee (sophomore) is a part-time worker and a recent hire at Crush & Touch.

“[The owners] honestly do such a great job about really finding certain brands that align with their mission,” Lee said. “Which is just to provide a more intersectional space for art and art supplies.”

As an artist, Lee said that the Crush & Touch team is made up of other creative individuals. According to Lee, many of the employees are also able to sell their own work within the store.

“[The owners] promote other independent artists, local artists [and] artists who are maybe slept on or not as [well-known]. A lot of the pieces that we sell in the store are handmade, one-of-a-kind, and a lot of them are owned by female or queer POC artists,” Lee said. “That’s something that’s honestly so special about it. I think it’s the fact that they’ve taken the time to really figure out which artists they want to showcase, and how they can implement that into their brand as well.”

One of the unique charms of the shop is its interior, which is a combination of the founding couple’s aesthetic preferences, according to Grover. Because they sell art supplies, Grover said they wanted to embrace a full spectrum of color, while also drawing inspiration from nature for the organic shapes and florals. Grover said that he builds most of the furniture for the store.

“It’s us looking to hopefully inspire play with others. So when you’re in the shop, even like our displays, we’re hoping that you have a little bit of a sense of wonder about it,” Grover said. “We look at art as a means to play and something that shouldn’t be unattainable for someone that walks in. We want it to be very inviting, and so we just throw all the colors together and make it work.”

Leila Rice is a first-time customer at Crush & Touch who admires the store’s ambiance and mission.

“It’s a really good blend of art supplies and art, too,” Rice said. “It’s cool to see the prints and other kinds of little pieces that people have made and are selling. [There’s also a] good range of options for beginners and people who are interested in coming back eventually.”

Crush Touch
Some of the things you can buy inside Crush and Touch, located on York Boulevard in Los Angeles, CA. Nov. 12, 2022. Dylan Herbert/The Occidental

According to Grover, Crush & Touch is meant to support the community. As a result, during the pandemic, Grover said they started to work with local museums such as the Broad and the Huntington, who were unable to run their usual art workshops for kids. According to Grover, Crush & Touch partnered with these museums to create art kits for kids to do at home with their families, a venture that they are continuing to do on their own now that restrictions have been lifted. Grover said that while they also host other events, such as art supply giveaways, they specialize in providing art supplies to established organizations in the neighborhood.

Crush & Touch is also supporting Brown Girl Travels — a magazine focusing on women of color that also participates in community work — in two upcoming community events during the holiday season. The shop serves as a drop-off location for BGT Toy Drive, which takes place Nov. 1 through Dec. 4. They will also be participating in BGT’s Holiday Community Marketplace, which takes place Dec. 11.

Crush & Touch Art Supply, 5030 ½ York Blvd., Los Angeles, is open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Sunday through Saturday.