I walk by this shop on Macleay Street, in nearby Potts Point, quite regularly and can never resist going inside. The first thing that draws me in is the lovely, refreshing smell of essential oils that emanates from its doorway. But I also know that the small shop-front leads to two large rooms, filled to the ceiling with colourful and quirky gifts, home-wares and art.
I could spend hours wandering through this shop as there is so much to look at and the stock changes regularly. There are cushions, dolls, jewellery, stationery, iPod speakers, handbags, magnets, key-rings, clocks, finger-puppets, lamps and fairy-lights, soaps, moisturisers and lots of ''novelty items'' such as little ducks that vibrate (I don't know what they are for!) and small cat figurines with pencil sharpeners in their bottoms. So there's not only lots to look at, but lots to laugh at as well.
What I also like about Bang! is that a lot of the products are unique to the shop because the owner goes to great care to source items that can't be found anywhere else.
Bang! is a great place for buying birthday presents and other gifts because it also stocks a vast array of wrapping paper and cards.
At the moment Bang! has the sweetest little gift cards from Korea that feature child-like drawings and the most adorable script. I bought one that has an illustration of two young women holdings hands with the line: ''Nobody knows me like you, that's why I like you. Thank you about that.''
I am going to give it to a special girlfriend.
Bang! is owned by artist Garry McEwan, who used to have a smaller scale gallery on Darlinghurst Road, near the corner of Liverpool Street. He moved to this shop in Potts Point about three years ago, but I understand he is soon going to relocate again after the landlord increased the rent by a ridiculous sum. Apparently commercial rents on Macleay Street are going up and up, pricing out the locally-owned smaller retailers, so that soon the street will feature a strip of internationally-owned chain stores, like Dunkin' Donuts and The Gap.
But McEwan, pictured below, is happy and optimistic and I'm sure his customers will follow wherever he goes:
At the moment, the back room of Bang! is home to an exhibition of McEwan's most recent work. Walking Manhattan - as the show is called - features 42 mixed-media works on canvas, ranging from $250 to $3000, which were inspired by a recent trip to New York. Using photographs taken on his adventure, McEwan printed the images on canvas and then highlighted areas with paint and collage to bring the pictures to life. When I visited the show a few weeks ago, many of the works had already sold. So be quick, Walking Manhattan, runs until December 25.
Walking Manhattan, by Garry McEwan, 2010
Bang! Art + Gift
Shop 4B, 50 Macleay Street
Potts Point NSW 2011
02 9356 4319