With real estate what it is these days, pop-up shops are becoming more and more attractive to small, local retailers. The idea that you can set up in someone else's space for a limited period of time with minimal overhead is making it easy for businesses to sell what they want to sell, when they want to sell it. It certainly makes sense for Mark Quint and Barry Bell, operators of the Found! pop-up shop—the place to find what the longtime business partners call "rare and exotic objects, odd doohickeys, miscellaneous whatchamacallits and just plain stuff."
At one of their recent pop-ups in the parking lot next to the Linda Vista-based Found Image Press, which Bell owns (Quint operates Quint Contemporary Art gallery in La Jolla), quite a few items caught my eye. Two worse-for-wear Mary statues greeted me at the entrance, and one customer couldn't seem to decide between the two. He'd walk away, come back, walk away, come back. (He eventually settled on a painting very becoming of a manly cabin in the woods.) There was an $800 Spanish chest (a steal considering it would retail for $2,400, Quint says) that looked interesting, but not as much as its contents: various fossils and animal teeth of all shapes and sizes. And I can only assume that either Quint or Bell (or both) are dog lovers, what with all the puppy portraits propped up throughout.
Yes, there was a lot of random stuff here. Quint acknowledged it was very much like a garage sale, though many of their pop-ups are carefully curated with way fewer items. In past pop-ups, Quint and Bell have sold items that reflect their affinity for natural history or collections of any kind. Here, Quint talks about his love of curio cabinets and cow skulls:
You mentioned that you get a lot of your items from flea markets. What draws you to this type of older, vintage stuff in the first place? After all, you run Quint Gallery, which focuses on contemporary painting and sculpture. It's an interesting juxtaposition, don't you think?
I don't see that much difference between looking at contemporary art and looking at vintage objects. I've been a collector since I was a kid, always compiling and organizing stamps, coins and your usual childhood interests, but I never specialized or became an expert in any field besides art. I'm a complete novice collector of many eclectic objects—more of an organized hoarder than a true authority on any subject. I love looking at objects, comparing different examples, and the art of displaying those objects. I also really have a weakness for curio cabinets.
Barry and I are not doing this to make money. We love the hunt for interesting objects, buying, selling and trading and getting turned on to new pursuits.
So you and Barry have history?
We met 25 years ago. He was and is an artist who has a great eye for display, graphics and design. Our [most recent] sale was our second Found! collaboration. I've personally held four previous pop-up shops under another name, Specimen.
What's with all the fossils and bones? People actually buy them?
I'm not really big on the taxidermied look, but I've liked bones ever since I was a kid. I have a friend who actually sends me skulls from Colorado. People buy them, especially if they're collectors. Teeth are pretty popular.
When and where will we see you again?
The next pop-up we have planned will be at surfboard shaper Tim Bessell's shop in La Jolla this September. We will be focusing on paper: drawings, photographs, posters, prints, postcards and all types of ephemera.
Found! will hold a special "garage sale" from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, June 28, at 5225 Riley St. in Linda Vista.
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