Tom Sebazco, KINKA

Astoria-based artist Tom Sebazco helps promote the work of fellow artists at his gift shop, KINKA.
“KINKA comes from a Japanese tea ceremony,” said Sebazco. “At the tea ceremony, there is a flower displayed, but some flowers are forbidden because they are too pungent, too bright or out of season. These forbidden flowers are called KINKA.”
KINKA is located in front of Japanese restaurant Maki Kosaka on 19th Street in Manhattan,
“It may look like it’s only a gift shop, but when you go in it’s Maki Kosaka,” Sebazco said. “It was a process of ideas and inspiration among the owners and us.”
The store features one-of-a-kind works of art.
“You cannot find them anywhere else,” said Sebazco. “The endless talent pool of amazing New York City artists is on full display engulfed in succulents and unique leafy potted plants.”
The work of Shino Takeda, Miki Takatsuka, Taisan Tanaka, Hisako Baba and Kay Kojima has been featured in the store.
“Shino is a ceramic artist known for her whimsical treatments of glaze and shape,” said Sebazco. “Taisan is a world renown calligraphy painter from Japan. Miki is a sumi-e painter that concentrates and studies in the ancient traditional sumi-e technique.
“Hisako is well known for her wood fire ceramics and sake cups and carafes,” he added. “Kay is a ceramic artist that adds a small sense of agitation and balance to organic vases and candle stick holders. We just brought in Doclay Studio’s Saerom Seong, who fashions plates and other ceramics for Michelin-rated restaurants.”
Sebazco also holds events at KINKA. Recently, author Leeann Lavin discussed her book “Art of the Garnish.”
“We are hoping to have events again, but we are still in a COVID hold,” said Sebazco. “The gift store has kept the art program alive, and we will see what the future allows us to do. We cannot wait for another tea ceremony.”