[RECESS] is when we get to hear the stories of the good people behind the pop-up. It's our favourite time and we're happy to share the conversations with you.
With only a day to go before opening night at A Pop-Up Affair's inaugural exhibit "Peep Show", we had the pleasure of sitting down with co-founder Seth Parker to hear about their formation as a team and support from Vancouver's creative community.
A collective of designers whose paths crossed while studying at Emily Carr, the group has worked with the concept of 'Transparency' and will be presenting Peep Show: objects and ideas about what you show and what you hide.
As part of Vancouver Design Week, A Pop-Up Affair will run from September 19 to 28 at Mount Pleasant's Maker Labs on 196 Kingsway Ave. If the address is familiar, it's where we hosted the #HeyJudeShop and #WHEATpopup earlier this year. It's also home to Laser Cutter Cafe who popped-up with us last year in August and built the new signage at our flagships storefront.
Our ties to the people and the space run deep and although A Pop-Up Affair "Peep Show" is produced independently by their team, we couldn't be happier to spread the good word.
You can bet that we'll be there on opening night Friday, September 19 at 7pm - it'll be a goodie.
@thisopenspace: Hey Seth, tell us the story behind A Pop-Up Affair?
Seth Parker: A Pop-Up Affair is a group of nine founding members, all recent graduates who met during our studies at Emily Carr University. Shortly after our graduation we were looking to create an opportunity for ourselves to keep growing our design practices and flexing our creative muscles. We were mostly working as freelance designers, which meant a lot of designing in isolation, so the idea was to put together a show that would allow us to work with others as well as develop our individual design practices. We created A Pop-Up Affair as a collective and started to plan our first exhibition Peep Show, which will feature the works of an additional 12 creatives from Vancouver and abroad.
As recent design grads, what did you all gain from attending Emily Carr University?
SP: Emily Carr’s design program is very process based; you learn a lot about design as a method of solving problems and responding to the world instead of just creating beautiful objects or stagnant corporate sponsored projects. You can get by with simply going to classes, doing your assignments and finishing school, but you’re really missing out on the whole design school experience. This experience was very much one of getting back what you give it, which allowed us to connect over our motivation to develop individual perspectives on the kind of design we wanted to practice. We encouraged each other to push boundaries rather than following someone else’s idea of what good, sustainable, or local design was. The school was a platform that got us all in the same room, and we were able to build a collaborative workspace that was constructive and critical in order to push ourselves as designers.
In August the group created a Kickstarter to fund the project. What was that experience like?
SP: Kickstarter ended up being a really exciting experience. With Kickstarter, funding is all or nothing, so if we didn’t reach our goal we wouldn’t receive any money. This pressure really helped us figure out ways to promote ourselves and get the word out about A Pop-Up Affair. We started promoting our collective over social media with short video teasers, to stir interest before our launch, really only expecting friends and family to take notice. However, we started to gain a lot of interest in our project from the creative community.
SP: The support we received was overwhelming, not just financially but also the level of interest from the community in Vancouver. Once the campaign launched, we reached our full funding in just four days. Not only did Kickstarter help us raise the money we needed to put on our show, but also gave us an extra boost of motivation to really put together something great for everyone to enjoy.
The inaugural exhibition is titled Peep Show. Can you elaborate on the meaning behind the name and what the group hopes to achieve?
SP: When originally planning for our inaugural exhibition, we wanted the opportunity to show off who we were as designers in a more creative, and public environment. We decided on the theme of transparency as a way to expose the design process so that people could get to know the objects they purchase and use on a more meaningful level. The title Peep Show came out of toying with ideas of exposure and intimacy, which you will see hints of in our design processes and in the overall tone of the show. We like the cheeky aspect of Peep Show as a way of creating a playful and exploratory show that isn’t held back by convention. We wanted a title that would catch attention, and be accessible and fun for people from all different backgrounds and demographics. Who doesn’t love a good peep show ;)
What are the big-picture goals for A Pop-Up Affair?
SP: In Vancouver there’s a growing potential, pushing the city to become a creative and innovative capital; we want to help keep that momentum going. We know a lot of talented designers who have recently graduated or are still in school and we want to build a community that can support each other as the design scene grows in the city. We are excited to see where this venture will lead in promoting new design and creative collaboration within Vancouver.
We really want to see A Pop-Up Affair grow into something more established. Originally when we started planning we thought this would consist of a one or two engagements; a bunch of us getting together to make a show or shop. However, as we’ve worked on this project we have realized we really want to see the collective grow to put on more events, move into a permanent space at some point, and there’s even been some preliminary talks about maybe expanding to eastern Canada. Though for right now our focus is definitely within the local community.