Chicago artists sell art as holiday gifts

By KatherineGamby

The holidays often evoke many different emotions pertaining to gift-giving. A sales event will be going on until the end of December to ease the burden of finding the perfect present.

The Artsy Holiday Market, featured at the Maison Rouge Gallery, 2828 N. Clark St., hosts several artists, some famous and some local, in an event that features their artwork on sale as holiday gifts for a bargain until Dec. 24.

“We have a lot of vintage stuff from the 1920s, ’30s and ’40s [like] cigarette cases, vintage jewelry and figurines,” said Samuel Gillis, curator and manager of the Maison Rouge Gallery.

Along with original works from well-known artists like Michael Angelo and Gagliardi, pieces from the collections of local artists like James Schneider and John Anthony Martinez will also be available for purchase. Gillis, who attended Columbia in the late ’80s, said he is willing to accept artwork from students into the Gallery’s collection and market. Gillis also said all artwork involved in the Artsy Holiday Market will be sold for $100 or less, a detail that is overlooked for Schneider.

“The bottom line is that [my art is] out there … you’ve got to look at this as a busi-ness,” said Schneider, owner of James David Works LLC.

He said he will be contributing some informal pieces such as sketches and water works, along with an oil painting he has worked on.  He said around this time of year, he is usually busy with other paintings, but the economy is taking a toll on his career.

“The economy is hurt, it’s hurt everywhere,” Schneider said. “I can’t take it personal because I’m not alone. Everyone’s hurt.”

The Artsy Holiday Market is providing some relief for the artists involved. Though one of Schneider’s pieces may be sold for little money, he said someone who has more money may see his art and want to purchase some of his expensive work.

“It’s getting art out there at any cost, even though we may be taking a loss,” Schneider said. “It’s getting something on somebody’s wall and creating dialogue when we’re not around … anything is better than nothing.”

Martinez, owner of Olmec Enterprises, who is also participating in the market this year, isn’t as concerned about profit as much as enjoying his craft.

“I’ve been doing jewelry for the last eight or nine years,” Martinez said. “It’s a labor of love because my wife loves jewelry so much that I decided to make something totally different.”

He said he has sold some pieces of jewelry at the Artsy Holiday Market recently and that he always tells his customers, his target demographic being women, that women compliment his jewelry.

“I look at women and they are such beautiful creatures and once they have on jewelry it says, ‘Look at me, I’m beautiful, jewelry is part of my beauty,’” Martinez said.

He said that he thinks people will enjoy the market, specifically his jewelry, because his work is one of a kind and perfect for a gift for someone special.

“I always use semi-precious stones in all of my jewelry and a lot of the time, they are one of a kind because I rarely repeat a particular style,” Martinez said.

The Artsy Holiday Market will be open Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from noon – 7 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays from noon – 6 p.m. until Dec. 24. For more information on the Artsy Holiday Market,the Maison Rouge Gallery and other events happening throughout the holiday season, visit