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Popular Uptown Artist Opens Retail Shop Selling Made-To-Order Wares

By Carolina Pichardo | October 3, 2017 4:44pm
 Uptown artist M. Tony Peralta said the shop
Uptown artist M. Tony Peralta said the shop "Taller Peralta" on 2 Henshaw St., is his way of "investing" back in the community. 
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Will Suarez

INWOOD — A local artist who boasts hip-hop producer Swizz Beatz, singer Alicia Keys, "Hamilton" creator Lin-Manuel Miranda and award-winning author Junot Diaz as owners of his work is setting up shop to sell made-to-order pieces featuring his popular designs.

M. Tony Peralta's small retail space, Taller Peralta at 2 Henshaw St. near Riverside Drive, features some of the artist's most popular prints, hats and one-off T-shirts, along with a larger back area with two screen-printing machines.

“I thought about this [store] model, which is kind of new… I don’t think I’ve seen this before,” said Peralta, 43. “I have all my graphics in the front, framed, and then you come in and pick what you want — like on a T-shirt — and it gets made for you right away. It’s like this made-to-order thing.”

Peralta said this method of business allows him to keep inventory low, as well as diversify the shop, including using it to work on his own projects and events. The retail area only takes up about 20 percent of the space, the artist noted. 

“It’s a place where I can come and work. It’s also a workshop in the sense that I’ll also be able to experiment with different things," he explained. "I’m basically consolidating what I’ve been doing for the past five to six years. That’s just what it is. Peralta goods will be available all the time.”

Uptown artist M. Tony Peralta's new shop Taller Peralta. (Photo: Will Suarez)

Peralta launched his first formal gallery show, "Complejo," in 2011 at the Northern Manhattan Art Alliance (NoMAA). He continued to feature his work at pop-up events across the country, even landing in a new exhibit on the Latino immigrant experience at the Smithsonian’s Anascostia Community Museum.

Peralta said he’s proud to open a small business and workshop, at which he eventually hopes to host screen-printing classes for local students.

“Not in a million years did I think I would have my own space. I was born and bred here,” he said, adding that gentrification has forced many first-generation Dominicans to leave the area.

“Here you have a child from Uptown, the community, who has made a career in highlighting his community in a way and opening a space because of the community,” he added. “This would not exist if the people didn’t support my work. This is me taking that and investing it back.”

Taller Peralta's grand opening is scheduled for noon on Saturday, Oct. 7, along with a special pop-up shop for Viceland’s "Desus & Mero." The shop will be open Wednesday through Sunday from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m.