By Kerwin Solo BOXPARK Shoreditch Pop-Up Exhibition, Nov ‘21
BOXPARK Shoreditch, London, 15 – 21 November 2021
I hosted my first solo London art exhibition at BOXPARK Shoreditch in November 2021, displaying my Jackson Pollock-inspired music paintings and artwork in a week-long pop-up shop. This was a fantastic milestone for myself and my art brand and was a new type of art exhibition format for me to organise.
What is BOXPARK Shoreditch?
BOXPARK is a unique pop-up retail park made entirely from over 60 repurposed shipping containers, each home to a different retailer. BOXPARK Shoreditch was the world’s first ever pop-up shopping mall when it opened in 2011. It brings high street shopping, fashion, food and events under one roof.
BOXPARK has opened further London sites appearing since its initial Shoreditch location. Home to a mix of permanent and temporary retailers, BOXPARK Shoreditch has a few units available to rent as pop-up spaces for a duration ranging from one week to three months.
Filling my BOXPARK pop-up repurposed shipping container
I filled my repurposed, renovated shipping container, or twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU), from wall to wall with my By Kerwin original acrylic paintings and prints. I displayed prints of the paintings I’d sold previously, such as Tupac, Paul Weller and Blondie which were sold during summer 2021, and those I didn’t have space to fit in.
I also displayed my wide range of By Kerwin products, merchandise and clothing, which I’d launched a few weeks earlier at The Other Art Fair, London October show. I also displayed my Jackson Pollock inspired, hand-painted, 12″ vinyl records – this time framed. Plus, I had my usual orange neon sign and TV playing my painting videos. I was also able to play my own music, so I curated a playlist matching the different music artists I had on display!
I had one wall full only of original paintings, and another wall full of the prints and merchandise. I also had a By Kerwin Christmas tree decorated with my artwork business cards!
Watch the behind-the-scenes video of my BOXPARK Shoreditch set-up below!
Why did I choose to exhibit By Kerwin at BOXPARK Shoreditch?
Having previously visited BOXPARK Shoreditch, and also had a friend exhibit there previously with his own business, I identified this as an exciting location for a solo London art exhibition.
I also had experience of running my art exhibitions as a pop-up shop from my exhibitions including at The Forum, Norwich and my appearances at The Other Art Fair. I was therefore familiar with the retail requirement of a BOXPARK Shoreditch pop-up, and enjoyed organising the commercial side of my exhibition too.
How did I organise my BOXPARK Shoreditch pop-up shop, and design the layout for my artwork?
BOXPARK represented a unique challenge to organise. I’d never decorated a space of this type before (a renovated shipping container), or appeared as part of a retail park before. I had a blank canvas to play with which was great fun – BOXPARK provided the dimensions and fit-out requirements and restrictions, and I went from there.
Given a shipping container is narrow in shape with two long walls, I decided to emphasise the length of the space. I used one wall solely for displaying my original acrylic pop art paintings, which I packed in tightly for high impact. I had two rows of paintings, with my iconic large Jimi Hendrix painting in the centre. I used the other wall for the prints, products and clothing merchandise.
I exhibited most of my painting collection, prioritising my most popular pieces to display nearest the door (such as Amy Winehouse, Diana Ross and Marvin Gaye) – as the shop frontage facing onto Shoreditch High Street is important to entice visitors in. As with other shows, I made sure to have a nice balance of colours, so the wall had a nice even appearance.
I arranged my products and merchandise to create a visually exciting display, with lots of interesting, colourful items to look at. These included my By Kerwin mugs, cushions, coasters and more. I also had a clothing rack with By Kerwin t-shirts and sweatshirts hanging up.
As this was November I also had a pop-up tinsel Christmas tree, decorated with business cards that had my artwork on! I also used LED strip lighting for the first time, which ran down the skirting boards on each side, further emphasising the length of the shipping container, and fitting well with my ‘Hollywood Walk of Fame’ artwork theme. (I got this idea from the artist who had the pop-up shop the week before me, when I visited to get last-minute ideas!)
How did my BOXPARK Shoreditch pop-up shop go down with visitors?
My BOXPARK pop-up was a great experience that gave me great exposure to a new audience, as well as further exhibition confidence to build on. Exhibiting at BOXPARK also helped elevate my brand, having appeared at such a well-known and trendy retail location in one of London’s artiest districts, Shoreditch.
As well as meeting loads of visitors from all different backgrounds, I saw many prints and items of merchandise head to new homes. I also got some great photos and videos from my week’s stay, as well as catching up with many of my London-based friends. I also got to know some of the permanent BOXPARK retail tenants during my week (including Barbados-inspired clothes brand TRU – the island where my name came from).
BOXPARK also provide a staff discount code for exhibitors, so I was able to save on their great food and drink (as well as skipping the queues with my staff lanyard!). I also remember it was bitterly cold that week, and with the door always having to be open to welcome visitors I remember wearing many layers that week!
I’d highly recommend BOXPARK as a pop-up shop destination, as well as somewhere just to visit if you’re nearby. Contact me if you’d like any more information on BOXPARK or advice on how to plan your pop-up shop there!
Explore my full range of ‘By Kerwin’ Jackson Pollock-inspired pop art paintings, and shop prints of your favourite music icons in my online store, www.bykerwin.com. All of my paintings are available as premium quality prints from £35 – £75, with fast worldwide delivery.