While your friends are all bragging about their latest pickups from Amoeba, Sherry and Adrian Younge at the Artform Studio are looking to give you an entirely different experience to boast about. Rather than carrying thousands and thousands of vinyls for every single person who walks through the door, the Younges are more focused on appealing to the artists who will truly appreciate what they do — and they'll cut and style your hair while also helping you find new sounds for your record collection.
“For me and my clients, the record store area is kind of our waiting room and lounge area,” says Sherry, who runs the salon side of Artform Studio, which moved to a new location in Highland Park last month after nearly a decade in the downtown Arts District. “They can sift through records and look at books on music and such while they wait. And while we’re working, we’re always listening to great music, so it creates a great ambiance. A lot of our clients are record collectors and love music, so it kind of works hand in hand.”
“It’s more from an artisan, bespoke perspective,” Adrian adds. “The salon caters to more artistic people, and the record store side is more of a boutique, curated record store with a lot of curated books. The entire space is here to be a refuge for people with artistic lifestyles. When you walk in, you can see why hair and music are so synonymous. It’s all art.”
After many years composing and producing for artists like Kendrick Lamar and Ghostface Killah, as well as scoring such films and TV shows as Black Dynamite and Netflix’s Luke Cage, Adrian has earned enough respect and support to create a record store based on his personal collection. Whether you’re familiar with Adrian's work or not, the colorful vibe and sounds of the Artform Studio are infectious enough to please anyone with an open mind toward hip-hop, jazz or a variety of other soulful genres.
“You’re not going to find a lot of Madonna records or Jefferson Starship records,” Adrian says. “It’s not that those artists aren’t great; it’s just very curated to the types of music that are found in my personal record collection. The record store side is curated as a space that focuses on music that is very psychedelic, soulful, jazzy or falling within the golden era of hip-hop — the late ’80s and early ’90s.”
Just a few weeks ago, the Younges moved their dual business from a small space downtown to a much larger building in Highland Park. The couple, who live in nearby Mount Washington, have watched as the neighborhood has grown into a destination for vinyl lovers over the last few years. Not only did the move cut down on their commute and allow them to move into a better space, it’s also made the Artform Studio one of the focal points of the rising area.
“In the last three years, Highland Park has substantially changed,” Adrian says. “Five or 10 years ago, we wouldn’t want to be here. Now, there are actually other record stores in the area, and this side of town has become more and more a place for people buying records. ... Amoeba has been a staple here for years now, but people want to go back to the smaller boutiques.”
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More than a record store, the Artform Studio feels like a home away from home for L.A.’s creatives and artists. Even if you’re not looking to add to your record collection, or switch up your hairstyle, going into the Artform Studio just to take it all in is both worth it and encouraged.
“We want people to come in and know that it’s a place where you can bring your babies and your kids,” Adrian says. “This could be the place where your 6-year-old or 7-year-old holds a record for the first time. This is a place where a husband could go with their wife and stay at the salon all day because they could go through records or sit with a bunch of other guys and watch the playoffs on the television. It’s really a lifestyle place suited for artists who are looking for something different. It’s something where you walk in seeing a bunch of colors, and you leave colorful. If people don’t feel that, it means we’re doing something wrong.”
The Artform Studio, 5611 N. Figueroa St., Highland Park. Open daily 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. More at theartformstudio.com.