CINCINNATI — It started as a way for Brandon Hill to cope with his trauma. He loved art, and after watching a YouTube video on making coloring books, he wanted to try his hand at the craft himself.
Only his books centered on more adult themes. He included research he’d done on mindfulness and meditation to make the book feel therapeutic and when the idea resonated with potential buyers, In Fly We Trust was born.
Hill started selling his books and artwork at markets in Louisville, then expanded to online retail and after moving back to Cincinnati, he started working with Mortar to learn how to introduce In Fly We Trust to an even wider audience.
That’s where he heard about OurShop, in College Hill. The program offers storefront space for three tenants free of charge in the College Hill neighborhood, as they work to get their start in brick and mortar sales.
“This is honestly beyond my wildest dreams,” Hill said. “I didn’t think it would happen so soon. I couldn’t even visualize what a space would look like and here it is.”
In Fly We Trust will share the space with Learning CURVE, an educational toy store, and Pour Candle Co., a pour your own candle experience and wine bar.
“This whole journey’s been full of surprises,” Hill said.
In his section of the store, Hill will be selling all four volumes of his coloring books as well as some of his art as prints and postcards. He hopes with the opportunity get his art in front of more eyes, he’ll be able to reach a wider audience with his work and philosophy.
“My idea is that you use the book to enjoy yourself, but also use the book to heal yourself and put yourself forward,” he said.
The books themselves are entirely based on his own art style, incorporating references to his family, some of his favorite comics and anime and his own mental health journey.
“Each of them deals with different concepts and ideas: trauma, forgiveness,” he said.
This is OurShop’s second round of tenants. Some of the first have graduated on to maintain storefronts within College Hill, and Hill hopes ultimately that’s where his business may end up.
“You’re not supposed to make a living making art and here we are making a living making art,” he said. “It’s huge right?”
The grand opening for round two tenants in OurShop is Saturday, April 15 at 11 a.m.