If your kids (and you!) have fallen in love with the muppet-like Sushi Baby and Baby Alien, you're familiar with the work of up-and-coming graphic designer, Marco. You can find him in his funky boutique, Marcoart, on Orchard Street, where you can purchase his art printed on a slew of items: T-shirts, knit hats, baseball caps, jackets, bags, mousepads, even a tie for Dad. Marco's designs - often compared with Keith Haring's and Andy Warhol's - range from adorable silliness to social commentary. While some designs are not appropriate for children, there are many to delight kids as young as age six. Especially imaginative are cotton dresses ($39-$59) with contrasting graphics, such as Angel/Devil or Cat/Mouse. Marco revels in whimsy, also using it for consciousness-raising slogans like "Play Safe - Don't Catch AIDS" and "World Peas", complete with pea-like Earths in a peapod.
In addition to that of entrepreneur, Marco's titles range from Swatch Artist of the Year to Vice President of the Lower East Side Business Improvement District (his slogan is "God Bless the L.E.S."). His work is seen far afield: paintings in GQ magazine and Barney's windows, and also close to home: murals at Katz's Deli and the Henry Street Settlement. He exemplifies a living artist making a living, a great balance to your family's art appreciation, and he is dedicated to civic improvement to boot. Ever approachable, his art takes on stereotypes of race and lifestyle: five of his designs were featured in "The White T", a book benefiting the Gay Men's Health Crisis' fight against AIDS. For a special statement (and about $1,500), Marco will even paint your child's room - and he promises to let your child help.
While you're downtown, go to Ratner's or Katz's Deli, revel in the free parking and bargain shopping, and spend the day. To learn more about the Lower East Side, visit the Welcome Center at Broome and Orchard Streets. Marco helped start that, too.