Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Pop-Up Gallery Revelations

If "pop-up" galleries and shops were a thing during the early 1970s, I was too busy mangling mechanicals with Letraset transfer lettering to know about them. And after being laid off (aka, fired) from that job, I took a 40+ year break from artwork to explore the Life of the Mind.*

As it turns out, pop-up or flash retailing first arrived on the scene in 1997 when Patrick Corrielche created The Ritual Expo in Los Angeles. I didn't know any of this before artist Amy Baca Lopez invited me to join a lunch-time pop-up during November and December.

Among its many enchantments, Albuquerque has a mayor, Tim Keller, who understands how the arts can play a vital role in urban redevelopment. Amy and designer Danny Hart were organizing The Goods at a prime downtown location donated by the city. How cool was that? Very.

Had it been since 1970 or 1971 that I'd hung artwork publically? Weep-worthy to contemplate in either case, which is exactly what I did when they said, "Sure, hang your stuff."

Good thing I consider myself a lifelong learner. I had a lot to learn and learned a lot. We closed down The Goods on Sunday, December 23 so I'm still processing the experience. More will be revealed but here's what I've discovered thus far: Pop-ups require loads of energy on all levels—body, mind, and spirit.
  • Hauling, setting up, and dismantling displays are super-physical. My mosaics are small and light enough to haul in smallish boxes (H/T!). Revelation: Think carefully about the practical consequences of working larger and heavier. Also, tools, tags, tape, and packing materials are essential. Fortuitously, I prefer working small and already own tools.
  • Figuring out where and how to arrange artwork involves strategic as well as tactical thinking. Revelation: The visibility of (some) wall art could be enhanced by being displayed on a table. Also, consider traffic patterns and who else is showing what-all before choosing display space. I probably should've brought in a table and avoided hanging anything near the side door.
  • Predicting who will like and buy anything is almost unpredictable. Revelation: Be grateful for the thick skin developed as a working writer and published author. Also, be grateful that pop-ups provide an opportunity for market intel. Turns out I'm more grateful than I give myself credit for being. I loved noticing who walked right by my work (N=too many to count) and who made a beeline for it (N=5). I've used these data to figure out my probable niche. 
Will I participate in another pop-up any time soon? Time will tell. For now, I'm feeling called to refocus on what I'm creating. I do know that I'm looking forward to wandering through future pop-ups to meet other artists, chat with people I would not otherwise meet, and to fall even more in love with my new home.

Me & Amy Baca Lopez

Learn more about:
Patrick Corrielche
Pop-up Retail
Amy Baca Lopez
Danny Hart Design
> Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller
> The distinction between writing and authorship.
*Not to be confused with "Mindful Living."

Monday, December 10, 2018

Work In Progress Right Here and Now

Many changes for me within the past two years.

I seriously doubt anyone would've guessed I'd move to Albuquerque in June after visiting in May. I certainly didn't see that one coming.

As for my two most significant life changes since 2016, viz. returning to core identities as artist and Jew, those were probably predictable. By psychotherapists over the years. But maybe also by you? After all, I did write about the mosaic thing and got three posts about "Politics, Identity, and Activism" up here in May 2017.

Since then, crickets and that, too, is about to change.

Refocusing and redesigning this blog is on my list of things to do before we get too much further into 5779 and 2019 C.E. begins--in three weeks!

Meanwhile, if you have the time and inclination, here's a lengthy conversation (read: soliloquy) I had with artist and teacher, Sadelle Wiltshire for her series about Creativity and Faith:

To see what I'm up to with mixed media mosaics, visit:

To see artwork in progress plus pictures of cats and food, follow me on Instagram.

More will be revealed here but it's already pushing midnight (Mountain Time) and I've promised myself to get to sleep by 1:30am instead of 3:00am.