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Artist run pop-ups: Empowering creativity

A conversation with artist and studio-owner Mette Grøngaard

Artists as both pop-uppers and pop-up hosts

Mette Grøngaard (f.) is a Danish artist and graphic designer working to, with her own words: “capture moments of beauty, light and presence through art and design”. Mette has since 2012 had her own Copenhagen space functioning as a mix of studio, gallery and shop. We visited Mette for a talk about how artists can and need to challenge the classic notion of studio and gallery spaces:

“The classic gallery space seems so exclusive and pretty distanced. I want to be in dialogue with my customers and show them a space which they feel invited into, comfortable and maybe even at home in.”

Mette Grøngaard (f.) is a Danish artist and designer working with pop-ups as both an artist popping up showcasing her own work and as a host of pop-up art and design exhibitions.

As a lot of artists part of Mette’s collections are being commercialized in more usable and affordable products. This allows a broader customer base, but also demands more from the space in which it’s presented:

“It has been my space for a while, but on August 2nd other designers are going to be moving in some interior products. It’s about creating context when showcasing my work in a homey atmosphere like the home they will be in when bought by a customer. If you are not interested in or in need of art products, maybe you are interested in a lamp? Or maybe you were interested in the lamp, but then also fell in love with the art which was carefully curated next to it! It’s all about contextualizing the products for the customer. By mixing product types you target a bigger potential customer group - you invite more people in.”

Besides seeking product types matching her own work, we asked what she was looking for in a potential pop-upper:

"Definitely aesthetics. It’s free inspiration. I get inspired by other peoples art and seeing it in contrast to my own only makes me understand my own work better. So it could be something similar to my own or something contrasting it, creating a feeling that a lot is happening in the space. Basically, I need to like and feel comfortable representing whatever is coming in. It is, after all, my name on the door."

Pop-ups help maintain the network creatives are so dependent on

There is no way around it. Being a creative today is not just about your work, but also about who you know. This is one reason why Mette doesn’t only host pop-ups but is also exploring being a pop-upper herself:

"Pop-ups are a good way to get out and create a network with other creatives, potential customers and collaborators. The bigger the network, the bigger the chances of a project getting air under its wings. It’s the best way to get new leads both creatively and economically” Mette explains and continues, ”- and it’s a PR opportunity! Both ways. When you pop-up in someone else’s space they help tell your story which gives credibility and range to your message and brand. But I also get an idea of how my work and brand fit and moves around the marketscape of art and design which is priceless knowledge you just don’t get with a webshop - or even a normal shop."

This is a thing we at Spotly hear a lot. The need for the physical to support the digital experience. Working with art, especially with a tactile look and feel, you are always set back a little with digitale media showcase. As Mette also mentions:

“I have physical, aesthetic, and artistic products to communicate and it is just so much more valuable to meet people face to face when doing so."

Art can’t just live online. You need to experience it.

- Mette Grøngaard

Empowering artists financially, spatially and creatively

For creatives like Mette it’s often a struggle to focus on the art alone not drowning in funding-applications, basic studio maintenance and other not so artistic practices:

“My dream is to live of my art, but statistically very few people are able to succeed in that. Most artists work a completely different secondary job."

Having pop-ups in my space is a way to get supplying income, which is still in line and feeds into my art and design business. And it gives the space some life which makes more people want to come back and see what’s next.

- Mette Grøngaard

Temporary concepts can be a big task for independent creatives having to do everything themselves, which might result in a down prioritizing of newer, interesting but also more risky concepts. As Mette formulates it to the point:

"The more we can automate the process behind the pop-ups the better, because it allows me to focus on my own art, which is, in the end, what I want to do."

This is exactly where we hope to change the game! We look forward to follow Mette’s artistic journey and we welcome her both as a host and as a pop-upper here on Spotly. Learn more about Mette and her work at www.grongaard.com.

We, at Spotly, are always looking for the next pop-up adventure. Don’t hesitate to give us a shout out if you have something in the works. Wherever you might be on your brand’s pop-up journey - we are here to help! Reach out at hi@spotly.co.

Pop-upper & host
Mette Grøngaard
Spot
Studio
Where
Copenhagen
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