#ShiftYourShopping ideas for the coolest person in your life …
You’ve made it through Black Friday. You’ve endured the first two weeks of “It’s the most wonderful time of the year” on constant commercial loop. Blogs and magazines have been telling you what to buy for what seems like an eternity. You’ve probably deleted about a million unwanted e-mails from companies swearing that they have “THE BIGGEST SALE EVER OF ALL TIME.”
I get it. This list is probably annoying.
Only, it’s not. Here’s why:
Every item on this list has been produced by a Boston-based artist, or a business that works to support them. Buying from these independent projects not only makes you feel better—by making your contribution to the acceleration of commerce and culture—but also inherently helps these individuals continue to do what they love. Year round.
Even in this bullshit economy, the creatives we love most in our city are still hustling.
Paintings are still being made, small design companies are still pushing their aesthetic forward, and indie magazines are still printing and distributing (regardless of the system, the available space for exhibitions, or any chance at profit).
We could talk for hours about the “non-existing” market, or just how hard it is to “actually make it.” And it is hard: but, through consistent support and continued dedication, many of the projects we’ve featured here are doing amazingly great things in front of audiences much larger (and much more interesting) than you’d expect. This is the time—The Holidays, The End of the World, whatever—to support your community and figure out what’s actually happening in that raging, utopian ‘underground’ everyone loves to talk about. You’ll be impressed by what you discover. You’ll probably find your creative soul mate.
And, at the very least, you’ll score a really, really cool throw pillow.
BASTIEN / RELIC 021 / CASSETTE TAPE / $7
If you find yourself strolling around Hyde Square in Jamaica Plain on any given night, you might hear avant-garde echos droning out the upbeat latin tempo. That’s BATHAUS. Her exclusive for Vice/Noisey was the best homegrown mix I’ve heard this year. Her label, the Austin based Haute Magie, recently released a limited edition cassette tape of her album BASTIEN for their RELIC music series. The tape includes the opening single, INFERNO, that “bakes and breathes life into lungs born of ash,” as described by label owners Silas Ciarán and Amanda Boutourline.
Whoever said multi-functionality couldn’t be simple probably doesn’t know much about new design trends. PLANWORK‘s prototype Wallet is super sleek. At just 2.7 inches long and 4.5 inches wide, the wallet forces you to strip down to carrying just bare essentials. Styled post smartphone, the team recently told us in an interview that “Less is more, especially when you’ve got apps out there like PassBook that can hold gift cards, tickets, coupons, etc.” Their Mirror, built with two aluminum shelves on top and bottom, can serve also as a storage unit and coat rack. #META.
No Thoughts Zine consistently feeds our eyes with the best of emerging international photography. So much so that they were recently interviewed by Dazed Digital. Nine issues in, their latest tackles the topic of music: “to recharge, to celebrate, to mourn, to soundtrack our very life on this planet” to quote co-founder and photographer Michael J. Demeo. The Music Issue includes contemporary acts shot by some of most prominent new names in photography. Notables? Matthew Dear by Olivia Locher, ASAP Rocky by Evan Tetreault, and Gavin Thomas’s covershot of Jim Jones.
Aviary gallery and boutique, located in the heart of Jamaica Plain, has accomplished a lot in their two years of operation. The space merges what’s up and coming in terms of artisan design—such as Peg and Awl, who makes jewelry from recovered vintage treasures—with a passion for new art and photography. Their basement hosts a print shop and studio, where newcomers can learn how to process, edit and print. Their current show, All Black Everything, on view through December 29th, features original paintings, collage and drawings by Brian Wilmont. Curator Lindsay Metiver tells me “Wilmont is interested in the world around us as well as the world within, exploring the relationship between the object and the beholder, where art practice becomes idolatry.” While you’re there, be sure to open their flat files for more stunning prints.
VISIT BOUTIQUE FOR PRICING
ISSUE 6 / THE MONEY ISSUE / FT: GEOFF HARGADDON / 98 PAGES / $24
ISSUE 5 / NOIR GENERATION / FT: ADAM PALADINO / 98 PAGES / $23
Spirited, a book functioning as a magazine, merges the three things I love most: contemporary art, fashion and poetry. Every issue gives insight into a socially relevant topic, and it’s as conceptual as it is beautiful. Utilizing the wealth of Boston based talent, the magazine publishes new literary works ranging from criticism to prose. Editorial shots, often styled by magazine publisher Amanda Antunes, feature fashion trends pulled from various vintage closets. Extended interviews and profiles (like Liz Devlin‘s talk with Raul Gonzalez for The Money Issue) gives readers a glimpse into the practice of artists Bostonian’s know (and love). Real time? The launch of each issue calls for celebration- most recently at Fourth Wall Projects- resulting in readings, performances, installations and live music. Subscribe.
India-born Karen Meninno, director of the new Matter Collective, a group of female artists based in Greater Boston, meticulously hand-crafts small beaded and threaded sculptures. The collective, “dedicated to the idea that fine art can bring joy, beauty, style, and meaning into someone’s home and garden” blends fine art approaches with Bollywood-esque design. Meninno’s vibrant pieces can hang on a wall or sit on a desk: either way, they’d bring a pop of color to any room.
BUY ONLINE VIA ETSY
LIGHT HER / RINGSPUN COTTON / $35
TURN YOUR HEAD / CMKY FULL COLOR / PRE DESTROYED EGYPTIAN COTTON / $45
KEVIN SPIES / GUNSTICK / SCREENPRINTED / POLY, COTTON, RAYON BLEND / $42
Emulsion Apparel, with their new studio on Thayer Street in Boston’s South End gallery district, is a one stop shop for clothing and custom printing. The front of the store features original designs by studio members, including their Artist Series, with screenprinted illustrations like Kevin Spies Gunstick, seen above. The back of their store hosts custom printing equipment, where they’ve worked on projects with Boston brands like Vespertine Machine. With apparel printed directly in store, their model is as sustainable as it is contemporary. Check out their portfolio or visit their rotating vintage rack on location.
An old man reminiscing about his youth on Coney Island could be the haunting intro from my favorite GY!BE song or it could be the 81-year old small camera master, Harold Feinstein, holding our hands through “the playground of the world.” After a Kickstarter campaign that raised over $40k, Panopticon Gallery owner Jason Landry partnered with Portland, OR based Nazareli Press, producing the first ever monograph of the prolific artist. With 80 black and white plates, the book is a time capsule back to simpler times- where whispers of war were silenced by displays of affection on the boardwalk and daring trips on the Cyclone. This book is a must have for photography lovers.
Who doesn’t love bright, cryptic patterns inspired by the occult? Robert McElaney, CVLT VJ and designer, brings what we love most about freaky in-the-club projections and transforms them into an entirely new art form. His INRI print, made earlier this year, is now (fortunately for us) a throw pillow. Buy one. Cuddle with it. The nightmares you’ll have will be worth it.
Let’s see. In the past few months, the crew behind MMMMAVEN Presents has brought us Matthew Dear, Sonar on Tour, Jerome LOL, Boys Noize, Jackmaster, and Squarepusher (to name a few). Their agency represents Boston DJ’s and producers like the ambient/experimental Ricardo Donoso, the bass heavy Coralcola, and God of House Baltimoroder. They want to teach you their ways. The MMMAVEN Project offers DJ production classes for students of multiple experience levels (and they’ll train you to promote your style too). FWIW: your chances of scoring increase by about 98% if you know when (and how) to drop a Disclosure remix to a room full of sweaty, dancing people. Don’t even bother buying a guitar.
DigBoston‘s Sunday comic, Pat Falco, has been illustrating his hilariously honest The Strip Bar comics all year. His protagonist, a minimally drawn stark character, often looks distressed as he comes to terms with his reality, such as: “Impressing girls in a library / Hopefully with my ability to be around books / Not my ability to afford them.” In addition to making these, Falco is the co-founder of LAP gallery in Waltham, which earlier this year hung a massive wall installation made entirely of artist zines. You can own comic strips 1-300 by buying his three part collection.
As a roaming boutique, Gypsy brings their collection of vintage all around New England. After starting off in 2010 during Providence’s Rock and Roll Yard Sale (which is awesome, just in case you’re not a Providence native like I am), they’ve continued to showcase at the Providence Art Festival and The Boho Bazaar, before finding a weekly space in the SoWA open market. Described as “trend conscious, wearable vintage,” the collection features clothes dating back to the 1950′s, with no shortage of Mad Men-style office wear and 90s Aztec sweaters. The real fun here is in their accessories closet: I lusted after a tiny leather wrap around purse, perfect for dancing.
South End gallery director Anthony Greaney has built quite a reputation for himself. Showing almost unrelenting support for younger artists, his alternative taste on a commercial street can sometimes seem as abrasive as the glowing florescent lights he uses to illuminate his storefront. This autumn’s Instant Messaging, co-curated by Greaney and frequent collaborator Maggie Cavallo, brought dozens of original polaroids made by basement dweller DEAD ART STAR. The series, while evoking nostalgia for the artist, has the capability to be relatable to just about anyone who’s every been in their 20s: slightly jaded, definitely twisted, but always in a love affair.
Assuming you haven’t been living under a rock for the past couple of years: Lot F, Boston’s apartment-run alternative space gallery near Chinatown, showcases contemporary work inspired by urban street life. Winter Salad, their year-end exhibition, features a collection of artists who they’ve worked with before (like Thomas Buildmore) and a few newer names, like the Anthony Palocci Jr. painting seen above. Slice, using painting techniques to perfectly contour bold geometric shapes out of what would typically be just lame bits of pepperoni (in other, not so great paintings), is the piece I’m most excited to see for myself at their opening. No pun intended.
Thank you for shopping.