The East Village Vintage Collective has been supplying their namesake neighborhood with vintage goods since 2015. Operated by Maegan Hayward and Alex Carpenter, the shop at 545 E 12th st has become a village favorite for vintage treasures. Unfortunately, like many other small businesses across the country, the EVVC recently shut its doors temporarily in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19.
The pandemic hasn’t stopped EVVC from bringing the community together. On April 17th, EVVC will be hosting an online auction, #artthroughvintage. The auction was put together in collaboration with art collective, thefl00d, to support local artists during this tough time.
The auction was put together in collaboration with art collective, thefl00d, to support local artists during this tough time.
The fl00d member and New York City artist, LeCrue Eyebrows reached out to Hayward at the beginning of the pandemic to check up on her, and in the midst of the conversation they came up with the idea to paint clothes for sale. “He said, ‘maybe we could do some jackets for a spring release or something, to give us both something to look forward to after this is over,” Hayward explained.
“He said, ‘maybe we could do some jackets for a spring release or something, to give us both something to look forward to after this is over,” Hayward explained.
The two originally met via Instagram, after Hayward snapped a photo of his East Village mural earlier this year. They’ve been planning to collaborate for a while, but decided now was the perfect opportunity, given that they could incorporate a greater cause – supporting the local arts community.
“I started making custom jackets for Meg [Hayward] after she reached out to me last summer. But when this whole pandemic happened, we decided to auction the jackets as well as include as many artists as possible to keep traffic up and push sales in a unique way,” Eyebrows said.
Involving a group of artists to participate in the auction was not a problem, even in a time of social distancing. “Thefl00d reached out to their network of artists and everything exploded,” Hayward told UP. “Alex [Carpenter] and I have been constantly facetiming with artists, letting them virtually shop and pick out items [to paint].”
Manhattan based artist, Bree Chapin, chose a couple of busts of Aristotle and Homer over her FaceTime visit to the shop. “Alex gave [me] a virtual tour of the shop, he saw my work and highlighted some objects he thought I could work with. I saw the busts and got super excited,” she told UP. Bree got involved with the auction through mutual friends within thefl00d. “I feel like this project not only helped me connect with the art and small business community in a new way, but also opened up a new direction for me creatively.”
Like Bree, Vanessa Kreytak, an artist from Staten Island, found a new way to use her skills in this project. Much of her work is inspired by space so she transformed a pair of children’s jeans into a night sky. “I thought the dark denim would be a perfect backdrop for a starry scene. Adding all the labeled zodiac constellations made it more fun and educational for my younger audience. I’m hoping this project inspires future collaborations between more small businesses and local artists in NY.”
“I thought the dark denim would be a perfect backdrop for a starry scene. Adding all the labeled zodiac constellations made it more fun and educational for my younger audience. I’m hoping this project inspires future collaborations between more small businesses and local artists in NY.” – Vanessa Kreytak
Once the artists pick out their items, Hayward and Carpenter suit up in masks and gloves and personally deliver them. “We tell them, ‘we’re dropping off the package,’ and then we leave it out on their door hanger, re-sanitize, and drive over to the next one,” explained Hayward.
Over the span of a couple weeks, EVVC and thefl00d recruited 61 artists across the five boroughs to participate in the auction. “We have artists painting on a little bit of everything; pants, jackets, shoes, purses, t-shirts… everybody really just jumped right into it. It was like, ‘yeah, let’s do this,’” Hayward said.
“I was happy to join the auction to help raise money for the shop. Small businesses are definitely in need of support right now and EVVC is a neighborhood staple,” artist Frank Ape told UP. The artist hand painted his signature ‘Frank Ape’ on the back of a vintage camouflage jacket. His work also adorns the mural gate of the shop.
Artists Jim Tozzi and Hissxx picked out a couple of vintage ‘paint by numbers’ to add their own work to. Tozzi, whose work often incorporates cheeky renditions of popular cartoon characters, embellished his painting with what he called “bathing beauty Bert” – a nude portrait of Sesame Street’s Bert wading in the ocean.
The East Village Vintage Collective opened in 2012. Though this will be their first auction, they have been holding community events at their shop since their opening. “We have a big anniversary party every year, we’ve done art shows, we’ve even had a fashion show on the street,” said Hayward. Hayward is also a part of the East Village Independent Merchants Association, an organization that focuses on keeping small businesses in the neighborhood intact. EVVC has even created a map of all the vintage stores in the East Village to further strengthen the connection of the neighborhood.
The auction will take place via eBay and can be accessed through a link that will be released on the day of the auction. EVVC will be previewing all the items for sale on their Instagram. All proceeds will be split 50/50 between EVVC and the artists.
Savannah James is a freelance writer based in Brooklyn, New York. After completing her bachelor’s degree in Art History at FIT, she felt called to pursue writing as a way of further exploring art and culture and its evolving relationship with society. She is interested in storytelling and the various ways life can be documented. Savannah is also a contributing writer for the Bushwick Daily and Bklyner.