As part of our commitment to the Arts and artists both locally and internationally, Bridging Hope Charity Foundation supports and encourages artists, organisations and institutions to take risks and extend their boundaries of their art forms and practices.
Recently, rare inner-Sydney artist studio space offered by TWT Creative Precinct. More than seventy artists and creatives are already practicing in the North Shore’s TWT Creative Precinct in fields ranging from to dance to film to music production. But for these studios, TWT was keen to invite visual artists of museum-quality output.
Artists Caroline Rothwell and Abdul Abdullah reveal below what their TWT studio space means to their practice:
“I was in Chippendale in a shared studio, with great people, I just had very limited space. Studios in Sydney are really difficult to find: it’s incredibly expensive and square metreage is insane.
I had never considered St Leonards or the North Shore as a studio space. It’s quite officey and it’s not your traditional grungy, industrial area. I really didn’t know what to expect. But it’s great, I am loving it. I get the train over to the studio – it is really straightforward and beautiful crossing the Harbour. I have a lot of good, clear space and it’s allowing me to expand the practice. I’ve managed to dig up old works to reconsider things, start afresh – it’s exciting. And there’s a real community of artists.
We get space and we pay our rent with artwork –most artists are art rich and cash poor, so that works really well. TWT, they get cultural capital. They’re doing some interesting things – they are creating quite a hub here. It’s a corporate area, it could probably do with a creative boost.
What is great about the studio? Space. Seriously. I’m on the ground floor and for sculpture that’s really important because I’m often lugging 20 kilo bags of plaster around. My space was an old café, so I have got good light, good access, an industrial kitchen that I use for all my casting. It’s really beautiful and light and wonderful”.
“Beforehand I was working in Birmingham Street Studios in Alexandria, a complex with 22 artists. I moved out of necessity – the lease was taken over by a new tenant and the tenant turned it into a furniture store.
Finding studios is a huge issue. In Australia, in Sydney especially, with the cost of property and the cost of rent, it’s really difficult for artists to find studios anywhere near the city. Without a studio, it’s really hard to have a practice and it’s really hard to have an ambitious practice or a practice where you can work at any type of scale. If you’re having to constantly move or if you’re uncertain of how long you can stay it can be difficult to plan ahead or plan projects. A long term interruption like that can really throw you off or out of your game.
My studio in St Leonards is fantastic: I have got floor to ceiling windows, plenty of ventilation and space. It’s really well located, a short commute from my house and I’m given as much space as I need.
At the moment I’m doing one of the largest paintings I’ve ever done in the studio. Having a secure place that I can leave my stuff and if I need to say work overseas for a month, or go away for a week, I can come back and it’s where I left it is also important. It means I can work at scale overseas and go back and forth and there’s no concern about losing the space unexpectedly.
When I was told it was St Leonards I was surprised – I have never been that way, I didn’t know what was there. But I’m really settling in. Having the specific type of artists that TWT is inviting will be a great contribution to the area”.