Can I be a complete and utter asshole for like, 2 seconds? Okay, so let’s be honest: when you’re walking down the street and you spot one of those tables with handmade jewelry/goods sprawled out onto a table, do you really give a shit? I mean seriously, it’s bad enough that your parents keep animal figurines in the house so why buy more? I don’t want a statue of a cat! I want something cool!
When I first heard about the Indie Bazaar I was under the impression that the majority of these folks were selling just that: animal figurines and random nothingness. But being a good sport, I decided to check out this Indie Bizarre. What should I expect? Will there be grandmas and grandpas schlepping around fanny packs and purchasing flattened wine bottles to display over the fireplace? I didn’t come here to shop, I came here to scrutinize and judge.
But after looking around I started to feel a bit confused. Why aren’t there any bad/horribly designed figurines? And why is everything… cool?
Perhaps I underestimated the powers of Batman (Owen Geronimo) because damnit Janet, this shit is pretty damn good! Taking a look at these items you couldn’t help but think “Wow! Someone really cared about this product!” The jewelry was crafted beautifully, the clothes were of great texture and quality, and the various knick-knacks were quirky and fun. Why can’t they sell this stuff down by Union Square?!
The Indie Bazaar lasted a girthy 5 hours which gave me plenty of time to walk around not once, but maybe 6 or 7 times. I chatted with a few of the artists and I got a peek into their world. Was it all glittery and gold? Surprisingly…no. A harsh reality struck when artist after artist, the same reply echoed across the room.
Me: How’s business?
Artists: Good! Well… there are a lot of people looking, but not a lot of people buying.
Some artists sold one item while most didn’t make a single sale. It was truly heart breaking. How can these true artists go about unheard of?
After hearing the war stories of various vendors, I had to step outside and get some fresh air. With rain pouring onto my face and cold air slabbing my neck like a wet towel, I started to think about these vendors in a different light: Despite our gut feeling to turn away from anyone selling us anything, we really need to give these artists a fair shot. These are the kids who grew up creating macaroni necklaces for their parents. These are quiet ones, always keeping to themselves and constantly drawing in their notebook.
Who did you want to be when you were younger? Did you wish to be an astronaut? A fireman? A dirty politician? The artists that showcased at Indie Bazaar are of a rare breed: they are doing exactly what they’ve always wanted to do as a child. In a way, artists are the only real people on earth. Their creations are simply bursts of creative energy converted into solid form.
Maybe that’s why Batman created this show: to give the local artists a fair shot. A chance to be heard, to be seen, and to be appreciated. Even though dollar bills weren’t falling from the sky and into their pockets, I could still see smiles across their faces because at the end of the day, this is what they love to do. None of this stuff was mass produced but rather, built from scratch. From tired and mangled hands, chiseling away until all that was left was something perfect. This is art. This is style. It’s local, it’s current, and it’s a lot better than the crap they sell at the mall. Viva la (local) Artistas!
Oh, and you should also buy a necklace or too while you’re at it! (locally, of course) :D