When you buy a gift from a local artist you get a unique handcrafted item and are freed from concerns your recipient will already have one or may get duplicates. You’re also supporting an independent business owner in your own community. A thoughtful gift from a local artist is sure to be treasured for years to come. Forget about mass-produced, low-quality gifts or dealing with mall crowds this holiday season, and check out these local artists for all of your gift-giving needs.
If you live in or spend time in Boston, chances are good you’ve come across Michael Crockett’s work and not known it. His illustrations have appeared on rock posters around the city and at Boston-area restaurants including Café de Boston, Boston Kebab House, Paris Creperi and Eat Kitchen among others. Less well-known are all of the great holiday gift items you can buy online that feature Crockett’s work. Michael Crockett’s Hazel Eyes Studio keeps an online Zazzle store where you can buy everything from skate decks to iPhone cases to T-shirts featuring Crockett’s art. If you’re looking for original work this holiday season, Michael Crockett shares a studio with the extremely talented artist Meghann Brideau at Joy Street Studios, both of whom will open their studio by appointment.
Western Avenue Studios
122 Western Ave, #A205
Lowell, MA 01851
Glass blower Peter Zimmerman is the creative force behind Peter Zimmerman Designs. Zimmerman has more than 20 years experience in creating works of art out of glass that range from colorful glass animal sculptures to vases to hand-blown glass earrings. His work is colorful, fun and more than affordable for holiday gift giving. Peter Zimmerman Designs can be found at his online Etsy.com store or in person in and around Boston at Sign of the Dove, located in Cambridge’s Porter Square or The Cambridge Artist’s Cooperative in Harvard Square. Zimmerman’s studio is located at Western Avenue Studios in Lowell, Mass., and his work is also represented at the Loading Dock Gallery, which can be found in the same building.
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Boston-area artist Erik Nasinnyk has done artwork for companies ranging from Converse Sneakers to Beyond Space Records. His work has been shown regularly at galleries across New England and the country. This mixed-media artist has an abstract urban style that brings together everything from photography to graffiti, painting to graphic design. His work appears on a variety of merchandise that includes T-shirts and custom skateboard designs. If you’re looking for original art, Nasinnyk keeps both an online shopping cart at his personal website and an Etsy.com shop where you may purchase both originals and prints as gifts this holiday season.
Emily Dumas is the designer behind the fun, playful graphic designs of Flowers in May. She offers everything from cartoon pirate buttons to limited-edition prints and even has a full line of wrapping paper and cards for all of your gift-giving needs. Her work may be seen in person at Magpie in Somerville’s Davis Square or at her online Etsy shop. Dumas also keeps a studio at Porter Mills Studio and takes part in art fairs across Boston.
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Western Avenue Studios
122 Western Ave.
Lowell, MA 01851
As a member of Boston’s Copley Society of Art, the Cambridge Art Association, along with several other area art affiliates, oil painter Laurie Simko shows regularly in and around Boston. This holiday season she will have a series of small works that are perfect for gift giving on display at the Copley Society of Art’s annual Holiday Small Works exhibit that is located at the group’s gallery at 158 Newbury St. in Boston. The show will feature affordably priced works from Laurie Simko and more than 300 other area artists. Laurie Simko also keeps a workspace at Western Avenue Studios in Lowell, Mass. The public is invited to an open studios event at Western Ave Studios the first Saturday of each month and at Laurie Simko’s studio by appointment.
Renee Mallett is the author of several books about art, culture, and New England. She was the owner and director of an art gallery and has written about arts and entertainment on a national level for several print and online journals. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.