Popping up in Crosstown Concourse — Before & After at Monster Market 2018
Hosting Monster Market in Crosstown Concourse was a dream— the traffic was good, there were bathrooms (a very important upgrade from 2017’s location), a half dozen good restaurants in the building, real HVAC, parking, accessibility, coffee, and an address people recognized.
But with perks come hurdles. The space in Crosstown Concourse was my opportunity to work with a raw space— a very raw space. It was fun planning the shop layout from scratch for sure, but it was also very challenging to handle basics like lighting, sound, walls, and shelving on my own!
For context, I have a little bit of construction, power-tool & fix-it knowledge amassed from high school theatre tech, art school, and the several years I spent squatting with artists in a rundown warehouse— but that was definitely not enough. A small crew of close friends & my brother, who are all infinitely more knowledgeable around tools & cooler-headed on ladders, helped me achieve this very ambitious goal.
This is the space as I saw it on my first walkthrough in July 2018— which by luck happened to be on my 30th birthday. It was dirty, had no walls (only studs), full of junk, and without electricity. Upon request, I had two outlets installed. These would power my entire store for the duration of my two month lease. Somehow, this felt like a victory, but there was so much more work ahead of us.
Scared to death of not being able to pull this off in time, I start as early as humanly possible. I get the keys in mid-September and start wrangling this beautiful handmade display furniture recently disposed of in the closing of the Bikesmith.
By now, Cedar (a local wife-beating artist who is doing pretty good at convincing people around Crosstown he’s not) has moved into the free studio he’s mooching off of Crosstown to the right, so you can see the backside of his drywall.
In the back, he had large panels of wood leaned against the studs implying some kind of wall, but after catching him sneaking more than once, I quickly learned he just wanted them to look like a barrier.
More on this shitbag later.
The focus of my floor plan is to section off the space with a dividing wall, creating a hidden back area for storage, staging, and hiding a projector.
Local set builder and old friend Shea Colburn comes to help me for a few days, literally bringing a wall with him! It came with a window originally (right), but I couldn’t come up with a good reason to keep it.
At my request, Shea covers over the window, and my friend/talented local screenprinter Will Loren comes by and paints the whole thing yellow for me, which is a huge help.
Over the last year, I somehow find another one of the same yellow shelves (!) and this cool vintage yellow lamp.
Inspired by a show I saw in the gallery upstairs with images projected on the backside of visqueen, I ask Shea to build me a massive projector screen, and he somehow already has one of those on hand too, creating a nice enormous spot for a 12 foot projected horror movie!
He and my brother Kiefer Holtermann screw up sheets of MDF into the studs to create walls, and we begin hanging sturdy brown paper over the exposed plastic on the upper halves of the “walls”.
At this point I’ve spent literally all week scrubbing the rat turds and petrified dust off of these ancient shelves from Crosstown Concourse storage (because they didn’t want to let me use anything clean) and painting them primer matte white. I have only accidentally given myself paint fume poisoning one time in the process!
We temporarily disconnect and cap the back 6 florescent fixtures so the light won’t interfere with the projections. I say we, but I don’t do ladders and I know shit-all about electrical work, so I just watched. This really cuts down on the light in the space, but it’s exactly the look I’m going for. The front half is still illuminated by the tubes, but the back is dimmer.
Just days away from opening, my close friend/display master Reagan Crow comes to the rescue, and helps me organize a thousand or so items into meaningful sections around the store.
Manny Monster came alive this year with the help of Shea’s projector, Garracula and his jigsaw assistance, and a couple pints of house paint. He stood guard at the shop entrance all month long!