Brittany Graziosi is a jewelry designer and Jersey City native who has put together this amazing event, happening next Saturday. All kinds of creepy things gathered under one roof – from pickled octopus legs to goth/horror memorabilia – make this market a first of its kind in JC.
Til Death Do Us Part: A Valentine’s Oddities Market
Cathedral Hall: 380 Montgomery Street, Jersey City
Saturday, February 11th, 12-6pm
I talked to Brittany about her experiences as a designer and vendor at JC’s various markets, as well as what we can expect to see at her fair. Interview below!
Q. Tell me about the JC Oddities Market. Why did you start it?
BG: I started JC Oddities for a few reasons, one being that I really want to open a store. The idea for the store would be a collection of work from various crafters, with a monthly (for lack of a better word) gallery show. (I use the term “gallery” loosely because I have no experience or intention of working with fine art but hate the word showcase). I want to rotate pieces in and out and give artists a chance to sell in a brick and mortar that they can direct traffic to- without having to worry about the overhead individually.In order to make that even remotely possible, I needed to build a network of the type of artists I’d like to work with.
[In 2012] I noticed as I introduced more bone work and “weirder” elements into my work, I stopped getting accepted into markets outside of JC. Pacific Flea, Sixth Borough, Indiegrove have all been warmly welcoming. Because of my old work schedules I didn’t get to do too many of them, but they all accepted me as a vendor.
Trenton Punk Flea is nearly impossible to get into cause it sells out so quickly. So beyond that, Monster Mania, the horror conventions- I was limited to where I could go and none of it was super local.
I recently applied to vend at Brooklyn Oddities Flea and was rejected, and ya know that’s fine because they have their scene going on and it’s wonderful. But we can have one too. I just wanted it to be known that you don’t have to wait for a massive yearly horror expo and you don’t have to cross the water to find a market like this.
My experience with markets was mostly just as a vendor (though I do coordinate the vendors for Pacific Flea).
Jersey City events are fairly simple. Space is the big issue. Cathedral Hall was a godsend
because it’s massive and aesthetically is PERFECT for an oddities market. I also feel great about spending big money on it because I appreciate the work 4th street does. [Ed. note: in order to pay for the rental of the space, Brittany raised money on Indiegogo and paid for a lot of it out of pocket. Her goal was to keep the vendor fee low to be as inclusive as possible.]
Storefronts on the other hand… Owners have spaces that have been vacant two years and counting and won’t come down from $2200 on a 850sqft space on West Side and Virginia Ave. – it’s wild. There’s no real foot traffic there but they’ll wait out the wave of gentrification just to get a ten-year lease at that price rather than filling the space for 2 years a bit lower. I guess I don’t understand real estate so I’ll stick to one-day events and pop up shops for now.
As far as environment- I think it’s great here but you’ve gotta be doing something original. There are so many talented people here that the competition is endless. Especially when your category is jewelry. It’s hard to explain for me at least that what I’m doing is way more than jewelry. That’s why I changed my own personal name from antisocial jewelry company to antisocial JC. Well, that and because I’m not one of those NJ artists that puts NYC in their bios 😂
One thing I will say though, is I owe a big part of my successes and ambition to create this market to Uta Brauser. Creative Grove was the starting point for me as a vendor and it was the first place I ever felt welcomed and comfortable selling work as a crafter. The politics of how Creative Grove was pushed out are all unclear to me, but I’ll always miss that market. It was the one place we have total unrestricted creative license, and it was affordable. Back when I had a small baby and wasn’t back to work yet, the spring and summer at Grove were my only expendable income, as well as my only time out interacting with peers- and it was something I could even bring my son with me for most of the day which was vitally important to us.
For more info and a full list of vendors, check out the website for the market at jcodditiesmarket.com.