By BETO HOYOS
Located in the heart of historic Fourth Avenue stands a shop dedicated to local art made from recycled and reclaimed materials. Pop Cycle offers everything from reclaimed, ecofriendly wallets to Tucson-themed wooden trays, and much more in between.
Pop Cycle opened its doors to the public in September 2008, but the owners have been actively creating works for over ten years prior to their storefront. The boutique works closely with three main artists. Two of the owners, DeeDee Koenen and Shannon Riggs, run DDco Design and contribute great pieces to the shop.
Another artist that contributes clothing and accessories to the shop is Jennifer Radler of Monster Booty Threads. Most of the wood work that Koenen and Riggs create is made right in the back of the store. Store manager Libby Tobey explained that the store is all about sustainability and the type of art work found at Pop Cycle.
“Something has to be sustainable on each element, and it has to be hand made,” Tobey said. Vintage and sustainable clothing can also be found at Pop Cycle. So if you are looking to update your vintage western wardrobe, look no further.
The name of the store came from combining the artists’ enthusiasm for pop culture and working with recycled and reclaimed materials. Put a few of those words together and you get “Pop Cycle.” This shop is full of local art but definitely appeals to a wide range of customers.
“We have a lot of locals that shop with us, but then a lot of tourists come in because we have a lot of Tucson inspired items,” Tobey said. The store puts together a couple of art shows every year to showcase different local artists. The next local artist show will be on Oct. 17 at Pop-Cycle, which is located at 422 N 4th Ave., from 7 to 9 p.m. “The local artist show is going to be Star Wars themed but everyone is going to be doing their own take on it, so that’ll be fun,” Tobey said.
On Nov. 6, they will hold an art auction with the All Souls Procession to benefit Many Mouths One Stomach. Customers are invited to call the store starting Nov. 1 at 622-3297 to place bids or for more info. “A lot of our artists donate pieces that go up for auction and will be on display in our store for the week of day of the dead,” Tobey said.
New customers come in all the time and its usually people who are looking to get inspired. “A lot of people in this do-it-yourself age come in just to get inspired by what we have,” Tobey said.
Others come to the store because they appreciate the ingenuity of the art, or because they like to support local artists. “Local art is the number one thing, and its all handcrafted, and finding handcrafted Tucson magnets that are all local and aren’t made in China or somewhere else is rare,” Tobey said.
The artists that work at Pop Cycle have a keen eye for spotting the potential art in something very ordinary. Its that type of creativity that can bring a community together and allow us to explore the meaning of art and beauty in a way than we previously might have not done.