Pop-up store new model for Saint John art sales

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Pop-up store new model for Saint John art sales

Zoë Boyd's uptown Saint John home is both warm and spacious, but what really makes it stand out are its walls and shelves.

Each is covered in artwork Boyd has collected and carefully curated over the years.

But Boyd is getting ready to make space for local artists as she prepares to transform her house into a gallery — for just a single day.

"It's kind of a little bit different than the normal gallery setting," Boyd said with a laugh.

The pop-up model, cheap as it may be by limiting overhead, isn't the only appeal Boyd sees in opening her home.

"People can see what it would look like in a home," she said.

Boyd is the daughter of Hampton sculptor Jim Boyd and a graduate of the New Brunswick College of Craft and Design, so her move into the art business was probably inevitable.

Promoting emerging artists from the region is what she said really interests her.

But opening your doors to strangers?

"It's a little stressful, you want your home to look the very best," she said.

But the success of previous events speaks for themselves.

"The crowd was a little bit larger than what we were expecting for the first one," she said. "Everybody's been very supportive."

Family involved

On April 1, Boyd will host her fourth Boyd Pop-Up gallery.

Among the pieces she will showcase are works from her own family members.

Her father and brother have both put items up for sale, as has her aunt, Stephanie.

"I primarily make functional pottery, plates, bowls," said Stephanie Boyd. "It's really great to be able to have these pieces in a house so people can see how they might work in their own home."

Boyd said her own experience selling art from her basement studio made the pop-up affair a natural fit.

Another of Zoë Boyd's featured artists, Maggie Higgins, agrees that the comfortable approach works.

"I think it's maybe kind of niche to the Maritimes," said Higgins. "People like to go into other people's houses, look around."

Social media part of plan

Boyd has expanded her business online using the social media app Instagram.

By keeping things casual and less like other online art dealers, she said she's trying to set herself apart.

According to Higgins, that approach has been working.

"People don't feel intimidated by going into a gallery," Higgins said. "Instagram is for everybody and if they see something they like, they just message Zoe, and it's as easy as that."

Higgins said even if someone doesn't buy a piece featured on the Boyd Pop-Up Instagram feed, the exposure still pays off.

"But the sales have been really good," Higgins said. "I'm slowly making it my full-time job, which is the goal."

As for Boyd, she's happy to keep opening her bright red door to give people access to emerging artists.

And while she gains a small commission from the sales, when you look at her packed walls, it's clear she doesn't hang onto the money for long.

'"I usually end up spending that for new artwork for my house," she said with a smile.