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The contemporary pop artist Jojo Anavim, 35, was wandering down West 18th Street last May, when a slurry of serendipity, déjà vu and dumb luck nearly knocked him over.
“As I was walking by a carriage house, I saw a guy putting up a sign saying that it was available to rent,” Anavim — who has sold artwork to celebs like Carmelo Anthony, basketball coach and former Knick Amar’e Stoudemire and Selena Gomez — told The Post.
“I was looking to move from my Chelsea loft and asked him for a tour.”
Within minutes of entering the two-story, 6,000-square-foot space at 138 W. 18th St., he had an “ah ha” moment.
“All of a sudden, I realized that the street level of the place used to be a shop called Original Vintage Posters where I went all the time in college,” he said. “I started collecting posters at age 10. They influenced my visual language as an artist.”
The space was raw and versatile with lots of character. Anavim saw the potential.
“I needed more room to create larger pieces, and also wanted to have a wide-open floor plan where I could host family, friends and collectors,” he said.
Anavim brokered a multi-year lease for the apartment and moved in at the end of 2020.
While he declined to reveal his rent, a smaller 2,100-square-foot unit in the building was recently asking $10,000 a month, according to StreetEasy.
He whitewashed the walls and added bright lighting to the ground level to serve as studio and exhibition space with sleek black leather chairs.
An exposed-brick staircase with an original “Ghostbusters” movie poster at the top that Anavim bought from Original Vintage Posters leads to the great room, bedroom and bathroom.
Yet another staircase is the way to the rooftop.
“Downstairs is where I create, and up here I kick back,” he said.
With 16-foot-high ceilings and six skylights, the loft-like room is flooded in light during the day, while espresso-colored wood floors add a touch of masculinity.
When considering the décor, Anavim said that he tried for a minimalist contemporary aesthetic. But comfort was key.
He picked up a midnight-blue velvet sectional with oversize pillows from Lazzoni, a Turkish design store that’s on the same street, as well as a wide sky-blue armchair and a mirrored smoked-wood coffee table that reflects the largest skylight.
A large grey area rug with a white wavy pattern from carpet brand Nourison’s Twilight Collection centers the room, while the rest of his furnishings — like an eight-seat glass dining table — he bought secondhand.
The nearby Flower District provided towering birds of paradise and palm plants.
“The space feels sophisticated,” he said. “At the same time, I want guests to feel like they could walk in and plop down on the couch.”
Unsurprisingly, art is also a highlight. Anavim showcases a combination of his own works and those by other artists he admires. Several pieces by fellow Persian artists and brothers Dana and Dariush Nehdaran are prominently on display including a round abstract canvas and black-and-white photographs. He also has a painting with streaks of pink, yellow and purple by the Korean artist Lisa Park.
When the world is back to normal, Anavim said that he wants his new home to be a gathering space for like-minded creatives and a venue for intimate events.
“I haven’t been here long, but I’m excited to share it with others who are ready to come let their hair down,” Anavim said. “Living here is like a homecoming.”