Boho Flair at Art Gecko
Find intricate handmade items direct from the artisans themselves Art Gecko on State and Monroe Street
For a taste of the exotic, a stop into Art Gecko on State or Monroe Street can make you feel like you’re stepping into a little beachfront shop in Bali or a market nestled in a bustling thoroughfare in India. The scent of incense wafts through the air as capiz shell chandeliers hang overhead, a section of jewelry sparkles, and woodcarvings and other striking home décor pieces are scattered throughout.
“We have a focus on handmade, artisan items. We have personal relationships with many of the artisans, and we import directly. Often many of the things the artisans will make we specify the designs—they make things just for us,” says Marcel Colbert, owner of the store along with Nosheen Ajmal. Find pieces from India, Indonesia, Thailand, Nepal and even Mexico.
The State Street location opened fourteen years ago and the Monroe Street one seven years ago. Each shop perfectly fits its neighborhood: Students and tourists flock to the downtown location for the affordable hippie-chic vibe in the clothing and accessories, and near west siders appreciate the one-of-a-kind furnishings and wall hangings—many of which shoppers would find in an upscale home store for much more.
“There’s a feeling to this store that takes a while to take in,” says Colbert. “There’s this boho flair, and we have a lot to look at. It’s a sensory experience.
Colbert worked for a small importer in the past that brought in goods from Guatemala and Mexico, and Ajmal had worked retail before the two brought Art Gecko to life. Originally starting with festivals and temporary spaces, they settled on their State Street location because it was open—and Colbert used to hang out in the former record store space as a teen!
Art Gecko’s robust jewelry selection offers trend-forward pieces for a steal. “These are fun, you can make a statement and not spend a lot of money,” says Colbert. We love the carved cuffs, earrings and fun multi-strand necklaces. $5–$25
Sparkle and Shine
Add a touch of shimmer in a room with a recycled-sari pillowcase, coverlet or table runner. $18–$98
The stairway leading to the second floor is lined with mosaic mirrors that will lend a cheery, worldly
accent to a nook in your home.
Not So Blue
Turquoise jewelry is perennially popular with the fashion set for its versatility and authentic feel. Check out Art Gecko’s vast selection of pendants, earrings and sand-cast Native American cuffs—which are our favorite. $50–$350
Colbert loves these wood-carved tribal pieces from Irian Jaya, an eastern Indonesian island. They would lend an eclectic vibe to any room. $375
Contact Shayna Miller at email@example.com.