My Pop Up Gallery (P.U.G) was a right phucking success, FAAANKS to everyone who came to see my work, hear live music & drink wine it was brilliant. It actually was really good experience, despite the warnings and questions of "Why would you want to do a pop up shop in January?" or "Isn't that a big risk?" I have managed to achieve a really positive start to the year, and I didn't go broke doing it either. It’s a nice feeling to be able to give something a go and have a positive outcome.
However, for those of you who are wondering where my Pop Up Gallery (#P.U.G) is going to be next… I am not having one this month. We are in the Hastings/Brighton area for just a few days over the last weekend of this month. Unfortunately both Hastings and Brighton is too expensive and too difficult for me. All of the available Pop Up Shops require anywhere from £150 per day to £3,000 per day paid upfront, and all of them require rentals for a minimum of one week to three months. Which is too long for me
I’ve decided that if I can’t have a Pop Up Gallery in real life, I’ll have an Online Pop Up Gallery special… This week would have been the week that my next Pop Up Gallery should have opened somewhere in or around Brighton, so I am now having a HALF PRICE SALE on ALL of my work, for one week only. I am also doing this to help myself raise a little bit of funds to secure next month’s Pop Up Gallery which is looking likely to be in Wolverhampton, so keep your eyes on this space if you want to know what I’m doing next!!!
I have had to quickly get back on the job of applying for more Pop Up spaces to rent for the end of this month which had approached a little faster than I was expecting. Applying for Pop Up shops is the most difficult part of this process. You not only have to consider the cost and the size of the space, but also the prospect that the landlord may not approve of or even like you or your proposal, on top of that, even if the landlord does like your idea, the landlord may require rentals for longer than you can afford. All of these things need to be seriously considered when you’re applying for a Pop Up Shop.
I alternatively tried to seek out other closed down shop spaces and appealed to the estate agents for help.
Here’s a little taster of what I’m up against when applying for shop spaces in the highstreets:
(The responses I receive can be rather disheartening, these responses are real responses from real estate agents, in my emails)
- "Please be aware, we do not deal with Pop Ups like this"
- "The Landlord is not interested in Pop Ups"
- "Our Landlords will never take an interest in Pop Ups"
- "Please contact the Landlord yourself"
- "The Landlord has decided to offer you the space at a discount of 6 days instead of seven, the Pop Up will therefore only cost you £1,209, do you wish to continue?"
- "Please stop contacting us, we will not be interested in any Pop Ups of any sort for any of the retail properties listed"
- "Dear The Famous Artist Birdy Rose thank you for your enquiry, we will not be accepting any short term rentals or pop ups"
- "The Landlord will only accept a two year rental with payment upfront, pop ups will not be considered"
- "Letting shops for only a few days or a week creates a lot of work with no justification so it is not worthwhile to anyone"
Some of you may think I’m making things harder for myself, or maybe you’re wondering why I’m bothering at all if I can’t afford it most of the time. Well, the thing is, once I’ve started a project I’m not willing to stop. This is an important project to me because I don’t think I’m asking too much. As I said in my previous blog, there’s a real gap in the market for this, for the opportunity for ordinary people to sell their work, and a great chance to brighten up the dull high street which is currently being haunted by closed down shops in every single town I go to.
The other important aspect for me personally is that I'm trying to avoid having to pay out loads of money to apply to exhibit at a gallery or even a local gallery space. Even if I somehow won a place, I’d then have to split my earnings from sales to cough up a "commission" and be told what to do with my own work ... the whole point of this is to do things on my own terms and have my own space. I don’t think I’m being spoiled or entitled to want this, I’ve worked extremely hard to produce the work that I’ve been creating in the last four years, and to build my career around it in the last two years has been a massive game changer. I’ve also worked extremely hard at applying for exhibitions and art galleries, I dedicated a whole year to it last year. I applied to every competition and application to be exhibited in a gallery, and every opportunity that came my way.
I regularly paid for applications, which ended up costing me a lot of money just to either hear nothing back or if I was lucky, to be rejected. Some people may think a year isn’t enough ground work. I disagree. I recently read an article online somewhere about how an artist, should on average expect at least TEN YEARS of rejections from Art Galleries before they can classify themselves as a “credible” artist. Excuse me? Ten years?! I cannot afford a decade of applications, it would cost me a full time job to do that, Also… how do we know for sure we have another ten years to pin our hopes on? I can’t just WAIT ten years for somebody somewhere to just decide that my work is “good enough” to them. What does that even mean?
I really really love my work, that’s not just me being vain either, I paint what appeals to me. So I don’t concern myself too much with what appeals to galleries, because I consider my work to be a lifetime commitment, not just a passing fashionable phase. I’m not waiting for somebody else’s “approval” for me to exhibit and show my work to the world.
That’s WHY I’m pushing ahead with my Pop Up Gallery (P.U.G) project.