“I find that talking to people is often what convinces them to buy it,” said Layla Nami, one of the numerous artists selling her wares at a recent Parkmart meet. 

Walking from Myrtle Ave to Melrose, it’s hard not to be drawn into the monthly market that has been running that street since 2021. The energy of the warehouse-turned-art meet is quintessentially Bushwick, where it feels like art explodes out of every crack in the pavement.

Nami’s work, which she sells in the form of prints and clothes, is inspired by her own father’s tales of Iranian folklore, demons she spied at the Met Cloisters and her own looming feeling of being watched. She’s been selling since 2021 and often pops by as many markets as possible.

One of the more recent ones is “Parkmart,” a self-described artist market-after party that’s regularly populated by over 60 vendors and animated by five hours of DJ sets and meets at 40 Melrose Street. Taking a lap around the market, there’s collaged photography, dainty lace chokers, zines and crocheted balaclavas. 

Unlike most art markets, which mingle artists with resellers, Parkmart is pointedly aimed at people who make their own things. No vintage.

“The thing with flea markets in New York is that most of it is a mix of vintage and art,” organizer Nico Bonacquist said recently in an interview with VICE’s i-D vertical. “But we [knew] if we only did artists it would set us apart from everything else,” he added.

Amani Starks, who draws comics, says she fell in love with the drawing as a way to channel her own artistic feelings. 

“Art on its own is often up for interpretation but comics allow for little to be misunderstood,” she said, showing me her latest, and first, edition of a zine she’s made titled “Stygian.” The zine features a collection of oil and digitally-drawn comics that followed along characters she’s created, like Pluto the Great, a green haired, devil eared assailant who is on a quest for blood. 

The zine explores Starks’ feelings about the grip of depression and the power of female rage. The comics are both a great outlet for her and the feel practical. Coming here from from Philadelphia, she needs her art to be moveable as she goes from market to market. 

This sort of “moveable art,” ranging from clothing to zines to jewelry was a common motif at every booth, seemed to be the mark of a traveling artist. 

Follow Parkmart on Instagram to find dates of future art meets.

Images taken by Molly Healy for Bushwick Daily.

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