By Rebecca Sirull, news correspondent
While some spent this past weekend smelling rose petals and munching candy hearts in honor of Valentine’s Day, others eschewed the frilly holiday in favor of a darker celebration.
Eridanos Tattoo and Art Gallery opened its doors to colder-hearted Bostonians, hosting its “Love Sucks Oddity Market” on Sunday, Feb. 14. The pop-up event featured rare and morbid goods from Bad Moon Shop & Consignment and Our Lady of Reclamation, from pickled kidneys to scarab beetles, and attracted more than 1,000 visitors.
Even with temperatures dipping far below freezing, eager shoppers were not deterred from joining the line that snaked out the door and down the street. Once inside, attendees spread out to examine objects laid out on simple black tables lining the room, while taxidermied deer heads and bleached ostrich skulls seemed to the proceedings from their perch on the walls.
Despite the distinctly macabre tone of the items on display, the market attracted a wide range of patrons.
“Sometimes I’m very surprised,” said Jen Simone, one of the co-owners of Bad Moon Shop & Consignment. “There are so many different people who are interested in our stuff, young and old. We even opened a little early for mothers who had strollers to get in there. You have kids picking out chicken feet and then older people looking at the taxidermy. You’d just never guess with some people.”
Some of Simone’s other items on display included skulls with illustrations, dreamcatchers and wood burnings. She also brought along jewelry, wood transfers and other pieces made by her business partner Jamie Flanagan. The two had previously collaborated with Eridanos at the gallery’s first Oddity Market in December 2015, and its success drove them to repeat the experience.
Malden resident Siobhan Soucie had attended the first pop-up market and knew she would be coming back again. This time around, she left with an ostrich skull on a frame made by Simone.
“They’re very different and well-made,” Soucie said of the items for sale. “I would recommend it to anyone who wants offbeat art.”
Our Lady of Reclamation, an antique shop in Worcester, contributed an array of artifacts that ranged from medical tools to vintage photographs, as well as some items suspended inside fluid-filled glass jars. The store’s owner, Jose M. Chavez Jr., said that some of their most sought-after items include religious articles and preserved beetles, often framed or placed under glass domes. While undeniably odd, the objects on display have a certain appeal to them.
“There are lots of different people that are drawn to the stuff that I sell,” Chavez said. “There are some collectors, but also people who are just fascinated by these things, the way I am.”
In addition to reclaimed and antique objects, the market featured original artwork and prints, some of which were designed by the tattoo artists at Eridanos. The tattoo shop hosts several other arts events throughout the year and curates collections in spaces like the Sinclair, a gastropub and music venue in Cambridge.“We try and support the Boston arts community in any way we can, and one way is making sure these artists get paid for making cool art,” said Eridanos Manager Steph Crumley.
“We try and support the Boston arts community in any way we can, and one way is making sure these artists get paid for making cool art,” said Eridanos Manager Steph Crumley.
Crumley added that one of their main goals is to perpetuate the arts community and help gain more visibility for local artists. She estimates that around 30 artists sold pieces at the market and people continued to stop by throughout Sunday looking for any items that were left.
First-time oddity market attendee, Lizzie Cuomo, a sophomore at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, felt the tangible success of the event as well.
“It’s crazy that so many people are here, but everyone seems happy,” Cuomo said. “It’s like, the weirder the better.”
Oddity fans can look forward to a more permanent outlet for their art and artifact browsing. Bad Moon Shop & Consignment is set to open a new storefront at Mill No. 5, an event space and shopping area in Lowell this coming April. Not only will the shop see expansions in their merchandise, including handmade candles and furniture, but they will also receive contributions from Our Lady of Reclamation.
Photo by Nola Chen