David Lizanetz grew up in Glendale during the ’80s, and he wants to show the effect it had on him.
He opened Sour Apple Gallery in early July, offering customers collectibles from the decade like “Star Wars” toys and vintage video games.
“My store is like a mini version of Comic-Con,” Lizanetz said. “Of course, as a typical ’80s kid, I was very interested in art, and it stuck with me.”
Lizanetz earned a bachelor’s degree in fine art from ASU with an emphasis in drawing and painting. An illustrator by trade, he wanted to control who saw his art, and eight years ago set forth on a mission to open a gallery.
“I wanted to try to open my own gallery where I have complete control of where it gets distributed,” Lizanetz said.
In 2011, he opened the first Sour Apple Gallery.
“I called it Sour Apple because, at the time, my son was about 5 years old and his favorite snack was green apples,” Lizanetz said.
As Lizanetz developed his art, he realized he could touch on his hobbies at the gallery. Although he enjoys creating characters and creatures, he couldn’t let go of his childhood inspirations.
“The first year, it was just art, and then I started bringing in a few collectibles because that’s something else I love,” Lizanetz said. “I love everything about the ’80s, so I collected that stuff.”
Sour Apple Gallery, however, closed its doors roughly two years later. Lizanetz missed owning a gallery and tried it again this month.
“I missed the people talking to me about pop culture or art they like,” Lizanetz said. “It’s fun to meet likeminded people who share the same passion I have for art and the ’80s.”
Lizanetz is thrilled Sour Apple Gallery is open again, and he’s trying to stand out. He said his store is friendly and organized with authentic décor.
Sour Apple Gallery features music and movies from the ’80s, so expect to find “Back to the Future” playing in the background. Blips and beeps from retro video games echo overhead. Everything is neatly organized, with toys categorized by character.
“It’s not just an art gallery,” Lizanetz said. “It’s also a collectibles gallery and I curate what goes in here, so it’s not just a bunch of junk.”
Sour Apple Gallery also features Lizanetz’s artwork, which incorporates damaged or obsolete vinyl and cassette tapes.
“I like to use recycled records and cassette tapes and paint on top of them,” Lizanetz said. “Instead of throwing them away, why not make art out of it?”
Lizanetz finds it easy to keep Sour Apple Gallery relevant because people are always looking back. His staff, too, is well-schooled in pop culture.
“It seems like everybody loves something from pop culture, whether it’s their favorite TV show or a favorite movie or a toy,” he said.
“When you come in here looking for a unique gift for a friend or something for yourself, ad you’re going to talk to me — somebody who is also passionate about this stuff. When they come here, they’re going to get the best customer service they’ve ever had at any collectibles store, and I will do my best to always have what they’re looking for and give them the best prices.”