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By: Gillian Mciver
Run by Painter/muralist Nazir Tanbouli and film maker Gillian McIver, Studio 75 is a working studio and an artist - run space, located on the ground floor of a block of flats in London.We set up Studio 75 to reinvigorate and renew the definition of the "artist-run space," as neither gallery nor institution. studio75.org.uk
follow us on twitter @Studio75London
# 43 [6 December 2013]
Why you don't need to Debut: Part One
I heard recently about the furore surrounding an enterprise called Debut Contemporary. This is an outfit that runs a kind of finishing school for art graduates. Appropriately it's in Notting Hill, location of I Saw You Coming. Appropriately it's very expensive to go. It purports to prepare art grads to “enter the art world.” The furore is that some of their participants have publicly said that they were deeply unhappy with the finishing school's service. Because, I'm sure, they did not realise it was just a finishing school. I don’t need to say anything more about them since they are not the subject of this article; I want to talk now about why no art graduate needs a “finishing school.”
because there is no one way to “enter the art world.” This is highly individual and is part of your path in life, and you need to tramp that path yourself.. You cannot hire someone to get you there. It helps to have famous parents, yes. But most of the great artists did not have famous parents. Picasso's dad was an art teacher, but Rembrandt's was a miller. Peter Greenaway's dad was a builder's merchant and Jeff Koon's parents were a furniture dealer / interior decorator and a seamstress. Warhol's father worked in a coal mine.
A “finishing school” (or “charm school” - love that!) as defined by Wikipedia is “a school for young people, mostly women, that focuses on teaching social skills and cultural norms as a preparation for entry into adult society. The name reflects that it follows on from ordinary school and is intended to complete the educational experience, with classes primarily on etiquette. It may consist of an intensive course, or a one-year programme.” Replace the term “into adult society” with “into the art world” and you have got Debut nailed. But come on, this is the 21st century. We laugh at the idea of going to school to learn to cut muffins and to simper appropriately. So you don't need to do it to “get ahead in the art world.”
Unless you are rich and don't really know what to do you with yourself, and fancy dabbling a bit in art. Then it is a good idea to go and you will have fun and then go off and get a proper job, or just relax with your feet up. But for the rest of us, not useful.
You cannot learn to “get ahead in the art world.” Your art practice is yours alone and your work plus luck / Fortuna will propel you forward. Success has many definitions. It might be about selling, but it might be about having a fantastically interesting life. It might be about making a difference to others, touching them by what you do. It might be about striving to be in the history books, whatever the art world may think of you today you have got your eye on posterity. All of these things could be success. Only you determine what your success is. Charm School cannot do that for you.
Attending a charm school in itself cannot help you to “get ahead in the art world.” However influential the school purports to be, and however influential its patrons (and there is no actual evidence for this in the case of the school referred to earlier) you know your heart that the work is the main thing. If you spent the money you could spend on the charm school on your work, you will have a much better chance of progressing. In any case, you have already been to an art school, so that is all the institutional kudos you need at this stage.
keep following, or see full article here: http://blog.gillianmciver.org/2013/12/06/why-you-dont-need-to-debut/
# 42 [6 December 2013]
Studio75 is still alive
maybe you popped by Studio75 on the Kingsland Estate in Laburnum st recently and discovered to your surprise (horror?) that there is just a hole in the ground where the studio and its amazing murals used to be.
yes, the building at Hebden Court is gone…!!
but we are not
studio75 still exists. We are as active as ever, just no longer working out of a public gallery space. We might get another space in the future, but for now we are busy with:
- curating the YELLOW WALL project – regular hangings of shows of painting, drawing and photography at the Chalet Cafe. Bringing art OUT of the gallery into people’s daily lives
- actively working as artists – Nazir Tanbouli in Dubai
- actively working as film-makers – Gillian McIver’s first screening of the Studio75 film TAKING OVER THE KING’S LAND
- publishing artist books
- putting together a new ‘ZINE featuring limited edition art
and making new work
We are happy to host studio visits by appointment and are always willing to consider collaborations or curatorial projects.
as usual, email us
or Facebook us
or follow us on Twitter @Studio75London
and DO sign up to our newsletters they are not frequent but without them you’ll miss out!
# 41 [4 September 2013]
Studio75 as a physical space closed in May 2013.
We learned a lot from setting up and running this space. Some of what we learned was very disappointing and some of it was inspiring and life/art affirming.
We met some amazing people through the space and some not so much. We had art given to us, and had art stolen from us. We put on some great shows with few attendees, and some great shows where the place was packed and the pavement outside too.
We won a major award and had a fair bit of local and international press.
Out of the project came a half hour documentary which is wending its way through the festival circuit right now, and we are in the process of making a book.
Currently we are deciding if we will run another space. We exist as a website and limited edition publisher of prints and books/zines. We are also running an exhibition initiative in a local venue THE YELLOW WALL at the Chalet Café, where we are exhibiting drawing, painting, and photography by artists with whom we have worked or whose work we like.
# 40 [3 April 2013]
I often claim that London is to 21st century art what Paris was for 20th century art. This bold assumption doesn’t by any means suggest that London produces the greatest of artists; until now it has been too far from it. I’m talking about London being the most popular immigration destination for many Europeans and non Europeans alike.
Recent statistics suggest that only 20% of the London population is born in London, the rest came from somewhere else.
As an Immigrant myself, I can assure you that the act of immigration is mostly economic, yet I wouldn’t suggest that London is the easiest of places. Life is more difficult and much more expensive than any other place in the UK and Europe, yet it takes the lion’s share of another type of immigrants, the Cultural type. Artists, writers, musicians those who came to join over 22000 arty citizens, many of whom have ambition to be artists of the world rather than artists of any given nation.
KROM BALGESKY, DESI TOSHEVA and THEODOR TODOROV are three young immigrant artists. They came from Bulgaria over a year ago, following their ambitions and taking full control of their destiny. They work as cleaners, like most Bulgarians in London. They clean by night, to be able to pay the rent of their small studio by day. Other needs are not really of any importance to them, they work and live for their art.
Like many others who studied art outside the Anglo American planet, they’re highly educated, talented, devoted, and they are neither in the business of writing pretentious critical essays nor in the business of conceptual art.
Artist and Curator of Studio75
# 39 [2 January 2013]
Studio75's final project
Several Skeletons from the Same Closet
It is now the beginning of 2013 and it is time to look back on the last two years of Studio75. We started the studio in January 2011. We wanted to create an artist-led space for both production of our own work, and for creating small exhibitions with different artists. These last two years have been exceptional. The studio has also been influential for most of the artists who have worked with us. A small ground floor studio flat in a council block became a cultural hub and a Bohemian refuge, gathering in a broad variety of people, artists and audiences.
However as you may already be aware, the physical space of Studio75 will soon cease to exist, as the whole block will be pulled down. Actually it should have gone almost 3 months ago, but for building delays.
Yet Studio75 will continue to exist, as a network of artist, friends, as an online organisation and presence until we find a new venue, and as an active inspiring framework.
Given that the Studio is in its last weeks, we will use the remaining time to share with our audience the bigger bulk of the work that has been produced here. Most of our visitors have come for the fortnightly exhibitions and Open Studios, and may not be aware that every single day of the week the studio is used as a production space. So, now we'll let the skeletons out of the closet.
Studio75 - all details here: http://www.studio75.org.uk/
# 38 [23 November 2012]
Tatsuko: A film by Glenn Ibbitson
Tatsuko is an extraordinary project, and encompasses all of the prodigious skills and talents that a master of their craft can accomplish. Glenn Ibbitson's 40-min film is a hauntingly beautiful, dramatically gripping yet enigmatic film that draws the viewer into a world dominated by a strange landscape, where the familiar becomes alien and human relationships are intense yet completely distant.
The story is simple: a hooded man arrives at a remote farmhouse. The artist who inhabits the house, goes about her daily self absorbed routine, oblivious to the dark figure watching her. Slowly he begins to inhabit her territory, watching, waiting. Scuttling away when she is near, yet closer to her than her own breath. Is he real, or a shadow? Is he malign, or a guardian angel?
The film's cinematography is breathtaking, making the most of both the wild Welsh landscape, and the way that ordinary interiors can be imbued with suspense. In their majestic stillness, the shots breathe the artistry of Antonioni, while the enigmatic yet intense story echoes Tarkovsky.
The entire film was made by Ibbitson, with a magnificent soundtrack by Wyn Lewis Jones. The script, scenography, camera, lighting, editing is all done by Ibbitson, and it is a shock to realise that since before the credit you imagine this is film that took a significant budget and a crew. But no. Having previously made a number of short films, Ibbitson's status as a master painter can be seen and felt in every frame. Tatsuko, as well as being hugely entertaining, is an object lesson in how that most traditional of art forms, painting, can be a discipline and a catalyst to electrify and deliver art cinema of the highest quality.
Tatsuko the film is accompanied by a substantial published book that can be purchased showing all of the drawings that are integral to the film. The drawings themselves, in a concertina book form, are also available for exhibition.
Glenn is a painter, printmaker, film-maker and collagist. His art covers a broad range of subject matter, but at its core is always a vision, realised through various representational forms, addressing the enigma of what it is to be human. After many years spent as a BBC and freelance scenographer and scene painter, Glenn Ibbitson works as a professional painter and film-maker, based in west Wales.
Glenn has shown work in London, New York, San Francisco, Kyoto and Dortmund. His work is in private collections across five continents.
Glenn is a member of Studio75 and has participated in many of the studio's projects. In 2011 he exhibited drawings in “The Draftsman”, collages in “Rip it Up!” and “CONSIGNMENT”, a solo show of paintings and prints In 2012 Glenn screened his new film “Tatsuko” and exhibited Tatsuko a collection of drawings connected to (and featured in) the film along with a published book (Nant Studios 2012) of the same name.
# 37 [5 November 2012]
Studio75 took a break over the summer. We spent time on Canada's Pacific Coast, looking at Haida and Coast Salish traditional art and the relationships between art, nature and culture.
Back in London we're editing the film "Taking Over the King's Land" which tells the story of Nazir's huge mural project.
Nazir has been active in the studio with two new series of drawings:
KINFE EDGE DRAWINGS http://www.nazirtanbouli.com/drawing/knifeedge/kni...
BIOMORPHIC ABSTRACTIONS http://www.nazirtanbouli.com/drawing/biomorphic/in...
In October we started Open Studio Saturdays. Every Saturday afternoon you can come and visit the studio, see new and old work, buy if you should so desire, and meet the guest artists. Guest artists come and spend the afternoon and draw with us. We have already had Paris based BODO (George Bodocan) in residence, Bulgarian artists KRUM and DESI and we await others. If you are interested, drop us a line or drop by.
On Nov 7th, Studio75 will be welcoming GLENN IBBITSON to the London premier of his new film TATSUKO. Wales-based Glenn has exhibited several times at Studio75 and we are excited to welcome him back with this extraordinary film. More about the film: http://www.studio75.org.uk/tatsuko.html
In other news, Nazir has been shortlisted for the UAL Creative Enterprise Award for "The Kings Land" at Studio75.
Join us on Twitter @studio75london for regular updates, peeks at new work and more.
# 36 [8 July 2012]
NIGHT OF THE BLACK MOON
I decided to go back to my roots, working with Luna Nera, and make a site specific project on the Kingsland estate where the Studio is. I called Valentina who cofounded Luna Nera with me and she was totally up for it. I got together a lot of work by great artists whom I know, and we were off.
The event was dogged by the heavy unrelenting rain that is blasting the UK right now - there is no escape and the only alternative was to just cancel. For the foreseeable future the forecast is rain, so no point even in trying to postpone. So we went ahead and did it, and - with the help of umbrellas, big plastic bags and a tolerant audience waiting for us while we flew around with said umbrellas and plastic bags - by the time the sun set the rain stopped and all was dark and magical. It was worth it.
The first piece to be seen upon entering was work by Sheffield based artist Tracey Holland whose work is all about gorgeous, sumptuous images that are haunting and eerie. Made using highly-crafted techniques of photography and video compositing, Holland's work references cinema but is not cinema, references painting but is digital, harks back to traditional notions of aesthetics but is contemporary and often profound. In NIGHT OF THE BLACK MOON she showed two looped pieces, Carnival of Souls and Golem.
Nearby, a large and beautiful tree provided a natural screen to show two pieces that deal with the human body: Glenn Ibbitson's piece Consignment and Adrian Shephard's butoh dance piece The Life of the Fly.
A particularly derelict wall on the far side of the estate acted as a surface for a selection of works that all address memory: Jessica Kolokol's Contact a dual-screen piece made from old analogue photos; Adrian Shephard's super-8 film Angels and Brighton memoir Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea and Harriet MacDonald's paper-cut animation Another Year Gone.
The mighty SDNA duo Valentina Floris and Ben Foot brought some of their recent video work 12 Moves, and projected that against the big wall of the tallest block on the estate. A triple-screen fantasy combining animation and live-action, the piece offered endless surprises and delight.
I won't pretend it wasn't difficult to mount a show of this size and calibre in a place like the Kingsland estate - which is after all a condemned East London housing estate, not a gallery. And it was outdoors - something I have always said I won't touch (after doing many site-specific indoor projects). And it rained. But as I said it was worth it. The hard rain came down on cue about 8 mins before we were due to pack up. Everyone flew away; we grabbed the brollies and packed tout de suite and suddenly the estate was dark as it nothing had ever happened there. Dark and brooding, reclaimed by the urban foxes, the estate went back to sleep,
# 35 [18 March 2012]
Failure to launch? Collaboration as practice
In 2010 we were getting ready to set up Studio 75 and we were asked by TINAG (This I Not A Gateway) an annual festival/conference on critical urbanism, to run a workshop. That year's theme was “Finance”. We decided to run a workshop looking at the question: “Can to collaborative artistic modes of the 1960s and 70s offer anything useful to practitioner working today in the mist of financial crisis.
This discussion was interesting but I have to admit I felt depressed by the end of it. We discussed many models, options and possibilities, but the upshot seemed to be that:
1/ today's artists are dependent on the promise and hope of funding and organise their lives and work around that
2/ the art academy (BA, MA , PhD) is of unprecedented importance in terms of validating the artists worth and – crucially – self worth (despite the short time spent at the academy in relation to the – presumably - long time spent actually being an artist)
3/ there is no anti-academic movement and no avant garde in the traditional sense
4/ in the face of funding cuts most artists feel the best option is to be as commercial as possible. Models suggested included running a bar or cafe as part of the gallery (though when this does happen, it is never used to support the artists in the form of fees etc.).
5/ collaboration in the traditional sense is not valued, rather any collaboration mooted was on a quid-pro-quo basis.
This was pretty interesting given that the audiences for TING tends be on the critical left, so to find the above views held by the critical left made me wonder what the critical right might believe.
But then maybe we were the ones in the wrong. Why did we laud the models of the 60s and 70s (and early 80s if you take the New York scene into account)? After all, we weren't there, we just know what those who were there told us. We all grew up in a different era, an era of individualism and emphasis on self-realisation. We grew up being told that the main thing was Self, and so we are Self-ish. We were told this was the right way to be the right thing to do. Make goals and strive toward them.
I write a short text on collaboration in 2003 [ http://www.luna-nera.com/collabor_ate.html ] when I was part of a very active collaboration. Now I look back and to realise that we were very lucky to have found each other and been able to work together for ten years and make many big, satisfying projects. But even then collaboration was not easy: there were many people we worked with once and never again, because they were over-selfish.
Now, after a year of running the studio which we hoped would be a seed-bed of collaboration, I have to say we failed. We were unable to resurrect the models of the 60s and 70s because those times are past. We failed to create a close knit collaborative network of artists, though we have made some terrific projects and in other ways are very pleased with that we're doing. We failed to create a kind of self sufficient avant garde with aims and collective goals and standards. We sometimes failed even to communicate with each other (we have to admit it!) when we needed to.
This does not mean the project is a failure, but it does mean we are at a crossroads. If the collaborative model fails and the individualistic model is not delivering, and the commercial model is shallow and the institutional model standardised and boring – where does that leave us?
Or doe we just need to rip up the history book and write new “rules” for collaboration?
But we are going to have to do something.
ps. these are my views and don't necessarily reflect the views of my friends in the studio. The discussion is still ongoing. I'm interested in your views.
# 34 [13 March 2012]
Taking over a housing estate - mural invasion
After one year of operating Studio 75 we have begun something new. In late January, we received permission from the London and Quadrant Housing Association to take over the whole Kingsland Estate, where the studio is sited, and use the buildings (there are over 12 buildings) as a space for a mural exhibition. The estate is part of a big regeneration project and right now it is only semi occupied, and therefore semi derelict, with many flats bricked up. The mural project is meant to bring some cheer and humour to the site, by creating a mythical kingdom, The King's Land - populated by strange and funny creatures running rampant on the walls.
The project has now started and is supposed to conclude during the Olympic games this summer.
The KING'S LAND blog is at:
The murals are created by Studio 75's Nazir Tanbouli. Nazir has a long history of mural painting, indoor and outdoor, in Egypt and Europe. See http://www.nazirtanbouli.com/mural/index.htm for some examples. But this time he's taking a new, experimental approach, working with graphic drawing
"I'm working with ink on paper collaged on the wall, this way I can start now, and will avoid working outdoors in the cold winter. I'm doing it all so far on my own expense. Ink on paper on wall is a technique that as a mural painter I always wanted to do yet it was always dismissed by clients and commissioning bodies so I decided to put my theory to the test and see how it survives a few months of English weather; if it can survive that it can survive anything. "
Naz has completed 3 murals, seen in the photos, and the 3rd was a collaboration with German artist Valentin Manz.
We will be hosting a number of events and drop in cafes during this mural project, alongside our regular program of monthly exhibitions. Next up we have got our dear friend Adrian Shephard, Berlin based video artist, coming to the studio - more on that soon.