Over the span of three days, five artists will take hold of Brick OTR, a Vine Street storefront in constant evolution that houses shopping pop-ups, and transform it into Pop-Up Gallery.
An extension of MORTAR — a local nonprofit with the aim of enabling and empowering underserved entrepreneurs and businesses — Brick’s aim is to allow independent businesses and local artists the chance to test their products. And this isn’t the first time Pop-Up Gallery has set up shop in Brick; a gallery cropped up there last November consisting of work from mostly of the same artists. This time features artists Matt Meyung, Ryan Hill, Sara Cole, Di Del Pilar Cendales and Linnoir Rich.
“They were amazing with us,” Cole says of Brick. “And we’ve actually gone back a few times to see some of the other shops because they’ll have people with clothing or purses, or even people just teaching classes there. It’s right there in the heart of everything.”
You can peruse the five artists’ work at Brick starting Friday, June 28 from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; the shop will be open Saturday and Sunday during the same hours.
Aside from Brick, the group hosted a pop-up gallery at Braxton Brewing Company last September — their first joint effort — and at Covington’s Roebling Point Books & Coffee this May.
All Northern Kentuckians, each artist produces their own handmade and unique goods ranging in style and subject, from Cole’s reclaimed pallet and barn wood works detailed with cut aluminum — depicting everything from a cozy bonfire to the Roebling Bridge — to Rich’s dreamy yet realistic paintings.
The thread running between all of their art? The use of recycled and reclaimed materials.
Take the work of Meyung, for example, who makes furniture and decor from salvaged wood. Sift through his pieces and you’ll find tables and chairs with Midcentury Modern flair. Pink-and-purple hued desert skies, mountainscapes, twee foxes and wide-eyed dogs populate his woodcut paintings. Much of his work employs the process of Lichtenberg, also known as fractal burning, which creates images on wood by using high-voltage electricity. Then there’s Cendales; through her business Wisdom Tree she sells handcrafted jewelry made from organic materials like dried fruit, nuts and leaves.
“Actually, I’m probably one of her biggest clients,” Cole says with a laugh of Cendales’ jewelry. “She’ll make pieces out of lemons or limes. She’ll even have pumpkin seeds; everything is seasonal and very colorful. And it’s all sealed so you don’t worry about anything breaking down.”
Rounding out the group is local photographer Hill of Ryan Hill ImageNationS Photography, who crafts his own frames for each of his pieces. His photos often play with light, shadow and movement — sometimes seen through swirls of motion, other times crisp and clear — that capture everything from foggy Cincinnati mornings along the banks to nighttime traffic and golden-hued farmland.
According to Cole, the group first came together through meeting one another at local fairs and festivals.
“You form a friendship because you do spend a lot of time standing around and a lot of us started collaborating,” Cole says. “That’s kind of how it went from there; we became friends, and the Pop-Up Gallery started because we thought, ‘Well, we’ve done enough of these. We’ll see if we can plan one on our own.’ ”
All the promotion came straight from the artists themselves and profits from the three-day pop-up will go completely back to the artists. Cole adds that — because they’re not attached to a larger brand — they depend on one another to get the word out about the events.
In part, she says that, as an artist, it feels rewarding to interact with the larger community — both in terms of connecting alongside other creatives, but also with customers. During their previous stint at Brick last fall, Cole recalls that they would take turns standing outside encouraging passersby to walk in; each artist sold well that weekend.
“It feels special knowing that you’ve made something with your own hands,” Cole says, “and that someone you just met that day is going to hang it at their house.”
They’re looking to do more events in the future, alternating between a shop and a gallery format to give people a variety, and hopefully, Cole notes, their tiny group can expand to include more local artists.
The Pop-Up Gallery will open June 28 through June 30 at Brick OTR. 11 a.m.-11 p.m. daily. To stay updated on new pop-ups, visit facebook.com/popupgalleryart.