By Liam Hofmeister, editor-in-chief
A disco ball hangs from the center of the gallery. A bust of Albert Einstein made up with red lipstick and blue eyeshadow sits at an artist’s table. In the corner, a painter works on a portrait.
Every week, Cambridge-based Out of the Blue Too Art Gallery hosts Market Saturdays, a mix of an art gallery pop-up and an artist meetup. The gallery features work from nearly 70 Boston-area artists, all of whom are encouraged to come in on Saturdays to work on their artwork and accentuate their individual styles.
“This place is a throwback,” Francis Tosney, a featured artist from Quincy, said. “It’s kind of like 1983 Cambridge. It’s like a weird, large café.”
Tosney has a booth at Out of the Blue Too called Ramshackle – the name reflects both his aesthetic and his take on life.
“My approach to life is get it up, and then reinforce it,” Tosney said. “It might be rickety at first, but after a while it works out.”
Using scavenged objects and broken antiques, Tosney fuses the old and battered together to make something new. He breathed life into a portrait of a French monarch that once had holes in it; by touching it up with glitter, he gave the man in the picture a cosmic look. Tosney said he found the portrait in the garbage.
Zach Santos, an artist who lives in Cambridge, creates works of sculpture, jewelry, ceramics, candles, paintings and poetry. Having grown up in Puerto Rico, Santos said that he appreciated that Out of the Blue Too gave him a chance to show patrons both his art and his culture.
“I’m the only Spanish artist in here, but I’m happy I get to represent my identity,” Santos said.
Santos said he includes his culture into his work when appropriate. In one painting on display, a woman wearing the Puerto Rican flag and wielding a sword fights off men in traditional Puerto Rican celebration costumes.
The operators of Out of the Blue Too said they want to provide an affordable place for artists to show off their work, and are looking to expand their artist base with Market Saturdays.
“This place is only as big as you make it, so we tell everyone to invite their people,” Jacqueline Ortega, the organizer for Market Saturdays, said. “We want to provide a platform for other artists with tables at a low price.”
To promote a range of artists, Out of the Blue Too has opened its doors to band performances every night of the week. TJ Edson, the gallery’s manager, said that having a backdrop of artwork makes their venue unique.
“Music is a defining characteristic of our gallery,” Edson said. “There’s a lot of excitement, and people are hungry to play here.”
People passing through the gallery said they appreciate that community artists get to share their work through Out of the Blue Too.
“It’s non-corporate. It’s outside of the mass market,” Trina Jackson, a gallery viewer from Jamaica Plains, said. “This is a community of people who are not just producing for commodification. They are producing for art.”
Photo by Liam Hofmeister