Union Square Park Holiday Market is an annual outdoor crafts fair that takes place at the South end of Union Square Park bordered by 14th Street, Union Square West and Broadway. The market is open during the hours of 11 AM to 8 PM, every day from Black Friday through Christmas Eve, and features hundreds of widely varied crafts of every kind. It gets pretty crowded, and shopping outdoors in December can present a unique thrill on its own, but it’s a great place to do your Holiday shopping – especially if you have friends who appreciate a truly unusual and creative gift.
I took a shortcut through the market today on my way from Barnes & Noble to Trader Joe’s, and was immediately distracted by a booth selling Sock Puppet Portraits. Yes, that is what I said. Sock Puppet Portraits are the creation of a guy named Marty Allen, and rather than paintings, these are photographs of Marty’s sock puppet creations, which are captured via a phenomenally high definition technique. Really, they are true works of art that must be seen live to be fully appreciated.
Much like the creatures populating artist Travis Louie’s book, Curiosities, each puppet portrait has a name, a personality and a background story. According to Marty’s website, they also have “a bevy of social disorders, their own credit debt, and most have their own MySpace profile pages. Many perform with Marty and several other humans in the nationally-touring sock puppet and human multimedia rock and roll sensation, Uncle Monsterface. The nine newest are set to star in a Youtube-based Sock Puppet Soap Opera, Sock Puppet Manor.” Sock Puppet Portraits can be viewed and purchased online at This Link, or you can visit Marty at his booth in the Union Square Park Holiday Market until December 24th. The booth is approximately two rows in from the side of the market bordered by Union Square West.