The Popwagon is a mobile theater and art space. It is a custom 20’ trailer with a large side door that folds down to become an instant performance space. It wasbuilt by the arts nonprofit Trade City, which had operated a gallery and arts space in Santa Monica beforehand. Kris volunteered as their first production manager,and has since produced 13 shows across Los Angeles. He collaborated with artists to produce puppet-shows, concerts, interactive installations, experimental and children’s theater, and much more. In most occasions, the shows were produced in collaboration with permanent venues, like the Music Center in Grand Park, galleries, and street fairs.
After working in the Los Angeles art scene for some time, Kris was invited to parkthe Popwagon in the Highland Park neighborhood post office parking lot duringthe local art walk. He curated several projects and shows of local artwork. For one project, Kris asked the public to submit objects made obsolete by technology, or ‘relics’, to the construction of a crowd-sourced sculpture, the ‘Reliquiae’. To promote the project, he created a website and graphic campaign. He also installed branded drop boxes in cafes around Los Angeles. The submitted relics were hung from a wood framework installed within the trailer to create an inhabitable space, unveiled during a popup potluck picnic.
In 2013, the Music Center commissioned Trade City to install an interactive project for the downtown LA CicLAvia, a bike-based festival. Kris worked with Trade City Director Josh Worth to design a series of outposts, to be distributed across the course of the bike festival. iPads installed at these outposts were connected to an interactive screen in the Popwagon. Kris designed and fabricated a model of the footprint of the festival with the course lighted from within the 3d map, and tokens indicating the location of the outposts and Popwagon.
collective arts incubator los angeles arts collective
In 2015, Kris and his brother Josh Swick drove cross-country to gather best practices in independent art space management and programming. They interviewed curators and owners of galleries, venues, cooperative workspaces, and other arts spaces. A conclusion was reached: art spaces needed to diversify their revenue streams and programming to sustain themselves while keeping their resources accessible to their creative community. Having found Highland Park’s local art scene to be particularly supportive of experimental arts production, they found an investment property for their employer, GEI Development, to redevelop into an arts compound. Kris spent 2 years designing and managing therenovation of the ulti-building property, which included coplete reconfiguration of roos and new finishes alost everywhere. e collaborated with his founding partner todevelop a business plan and manage business concerns.
The Collective Arts Incubator (‘CAI’) features a gallery and performance space, library, commercial-grade kitchen and dining patio, private workspaces and living spaces, and a shared coworking space. Local creative can access these amenities as single-time users, collective members, or permanent residents. As the Art Director, Kris works with curators and artists to develop and produce gallery installations and programming for spaces throughout the project. He also designed CAI’s entire graphic identity and manages its online presence and catalogues, which document past gallery installations.
In October 2016, Kris produced his own programming series called the ‘Garden Party,’ which inhabited a gallery installation of artworkresponding to ora in nature. e designed a graphic identity and logofor the show’s promotion, and curated its installation. Artists from LA and abroad contributed pieces that invited viewer interaction. Included in the show were two different interactive audio installations: one thataplified the acoustics inside a cactus when its thorns are iced byAdrienne Adar) and another that used the plants as physical sensors that controlled sounds (by Martin Velez). Other artists contributed sculptures, drawings, video, and performances.
Outside curators and artists are invited to propose two-month long gallery installations and events series. Kris works with them to design and install these shows at CAI and produce associated programming.
Embodied show featuring performance artist Johnny Shield
Embodied show featuring performance artist Daniel T. Gaitor-Lomack
Tracing Tomorrow show installation
Tracing Tomorrow featuring the Bodyx3 mirror room by Troy Rounseville
Tracing Tomorrow show featuring the Thoughtitarium by Neil Mathis