Climate catastrophe, sky-high inflation, the housing market, freedom of speech at the whim of a handful of billionaires — there is plenty to worry about this holiday season, and there are more than enough reasons to shy away from America’s big corporations. Here at Hyperallergic, we think there’s a lot to be excited about in the realm of independent artists. From $50 prints to pricier original artworks; from hand-made clothing and accessories to ceramics and home goods, below are our staff’s picks of artists and other indie creators to support as an alternative to mega-retailers’ Black Friday deals. — Elaine Velie, Staff Writer
Jewelry by Sayran
I sometimes wear a small nazar hanging from a honey-colored chain, keeping me company on days I need some extra protection on my side. From Kurdish-American artist Sayran Barzani’s online shop, it’s one of seemingly infinite pieces of jewelry brimming with meaning and detail. Sayran, who also makes prints and digital art, draws on Southwest Asian and North African adornment to create her own bold style grounded in themes of feminism and justice. From a jin, jiyan, azadi (“woman, life, freedom”) necklace dedicated to Kurdish women to colorful resin earrings, her collection is the perfect stop for jewelry infused with care and confidence. — Lakshmi Rivera Amin, Editorial Coordinator
Native American Trading Posts
I never tire of promoting the network of trading posts across the United States as they sell and support Native American craftspeople, artisans, and artists in parts of the country that normally have little infrastructure for creatives. There are many to choose from and they all have a selection of supplies, gifts, and art available for purchase, but in this post I’ll be focused on the Apsáalooke (Crow) makers and their online shops.
The River Crow Trading Post is Apsáalooke-owned and while they do not have an online shop, they do post on their Facebook page about newly arrived items and other deals.
Other Apsáalooke-owned shops that are also worth a look, including Choke Cherry Creek Designs, which does have an easy-to-use online store (did I mention that the Ruby Skater Dress is 🔥), or Good Medicine Clothing — check out their Apsáalooke Champion unisex bomber jacket.
Then there’s Designs by Della, where you can snag t-shirts, phone covers, leggings, tote bags, and other accessories with designs inspired by traditional Apsáalooke art. Sweet Sage Woman, which has dozens of variations of designs for all, and Brocade Stops Black Eagle’s Brocade Designs shop, which sells jewelry, scarves, and other apparel. — Hrag Vartanian, Editor-in-Chief
Latin American Artists and Artisans
It’s important to remember that many artists outside of the United States ship their work internationally, and this year, I’m looking to support Latin American creators. Ecuadorian artist Claudia Anhalzer crafts unique, sensuous ceramics from her studio in Quito’s Old Town; her glazed stoneware lamps, textured with volcanic sand, are affordable and sleek. Also based in Ecuador, the store of Olga Fisch sells the work of local artisans and designers such as Alonso Pichamba, whose sheep’s wool ponchos are hand-woven and hand-dyed in the village of Peguche.
Cecilia Carreras, an artist based in Mendoza, Argentina, creates lush, botanical paintings that I can’t look away from — or choose a single favorite. (And her Instagram videos of herself dancing in her studio put a giant smile on my face.) Prices for her works range from $50 for small pieces to around $1,300 for large-scale canvases. In Mexico, Algo Studio in Monterrey, founded by Diego Garza, makes delectable objects in small batches, including furniture, lighting, and irresistible little things like catchall dishes and bookends. I want them all. — Valentina Di Liscia, News Editor
Art by Senna Phillips
Senna Phillips creates drawings and paintings as intricate as the routes she weaves across New York City at her job as an MTA bus planner. Her affordable prints are easily accessible at her online storefront, and they range from color-blocked acrylics to frenetic marker drawings. She used watercolor and Sharpie to create “Wii Bowling” (2022), an expression of her ongoing contemplation on how people can build community, even in pandemic isolation. She told me the work’s title comes from a Robert Putnam book she was assigned in planning school titled Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community (2000), which theorizes that dwindling human connection can be evidenced through dying bowling leagues: thus, “Wii Bowling.” — EV
Erika Stearly’s Paintings of Cozy Interiors
Erika Stearly is a full-time studio artist whose practice has centered on domestic spaces for the last decade. Her sources of inspiration range from vintage home remodeling magazines and IKEA catalogs to Craigslist sublet ads and photos from friends’ homes. Using primarily watercolor and acrylic paint, Stearly loosely layers her blocks of color and slender lines to create exaggerated but extremely cozy paintings of bedrooms, living and dining rooms, porches, and other such areas. She’s particularly adept at maintaining the sense of lived-in homeliness which aligns with the warm, circulating energy of Thanksgiving at a relative’s or friend’s place. I’m particularly fond of Stearly’s approach to brickwork and houseplants.
Stearly’s online shop is currently promoting 20% off calendars, postcards, and matted prints for sale on top of her full-price original paintings on panel. She also offers commission works for those who are interested in a more personalized painting for themselves or a loved one. — Rhea Nayyar, Staff Writer
3rd & B’zaar’s Pop-Up Market
Recently, I lamented about agglomerating costs for an upcoming move while waiting for the fitting room at the vintage shop 3rd & B’zaar in the East Village. “Not coming by here every week — that might just about offset them,” I joked to co-owner Delphine Le Goff, a little bit melancholically. She gave me a knowing glance and graciously just laughed.
Co-founded by Delphine Le Goff, Maegan Hayward, and Sara Ann Rutherford — who are also variously artists, display makers, and pet clothing designers — 3rd & B’zaar stocks vintage clothes, knick-knacks, paintings, dishware, painted masks, knitted balaclavas, needlepoint bags, painted leather, and so much more. What makes 3rd & B’zaar unique is that it brings together over 30 local vendors and gives them a brick-and-mortar storefront to showcase their goods. Shops with a singular, curated vision can be great, but the joy of exploration and discovery is evermore with a proliferation of tastes and styles on display. (And for those like me who find a basic and personally unattainable satisfaction in clothing racks sorted by color, 3rd & B’zaar hits the spot.)
Between November 25 and December 24, 3rd & B’zaar will be operating a holiday market, and this Saturday, it will participate in the Alphabet City Small Business Crawl together with several other stores in the area (Exit 9 Gift Emporium, East Village Vintage Collective, Hekate Cafe & Elixir Lounge, and Lucky). If you bring a receipt from any of these businesses to Lucky on that day, you can redeem a free drink. — Jasmine Liu, Staff Writer