Nazir and Jonathan have been working literally 24 hour shifts at the studio. Jon arrives in the morning and works; Naz and he do the afternoon shift together then Jon goes home and Naz does the night shift. If it was a factory they’d be making triple time, but it’s not a factory and the only thing pushing them is not a gallery, or a collector or even the exhibition – it’s our space so we can do what we want including cancelling it if we like – nope, what’s driving them to punish themselves in this way is just the sheer love of drawing and also their head to head bloodymindedness.

Nobody is allowed in there till Thursday night. This is being strictly enforced, even to friends bearing cakes. Only Sandy, Naz’s dog, is allowed in, to keep him company on the night shift.

But I’ve seen a sneak preview on the phone camera of some of the work and I have to say even on a 1.5 inch screen it’s absolutely astounding. I can’t wait till Thurs, can’t wait for THE COCKFIGHT!


Preparations for THE COCKFIGHT are underway. The studio is being prepared and will be hermetically sealed (at least in principle) from the weekend until the 17th.

The idea of using the studio for thises kind of experimental things is really liberating. We want to do more of that. In the end it’s not a gallery, we have to keep remebering that. We made it really nice so it LOOKS like a gallery, on the inside, but it isn’t.

It’s not about getting things perfect, it’s about sharing and discussing and – maybe – fighting.


In ancient Athens, the painter Zeuxis and his contemporary Parrhasius staged a contest to determine which of the two was the greater artist. When Zeuxis unveiled his painting of grapes, they appeared so luscious and inviting that birds flew down from the sky to peck at them. Zeuxis then asked Parrhasius to pull aside the curtain from his painting, only for Parrhasius to reveal the curtain itself was a painting. Zeuxis was forced to concede defeat. Zeuxis is rumoured to have said: ‘I have deceived the birds, but Parrhasius has deceived Zeuxis.’

Although this is from Greek mythology, it is often repeated in other cultures, a story about two artists showing off in front of each other. (You can imagine Picasso and Braque doing the same thing in their studio, each fighting to find the soul of Cubism.)

This kind of competitiveness is not dissimilar to a cockfight: the male birds begin by an extreme display of feathers, strutting about parading in front of one another. They preen and show off. Then things escalate and the battle begins.

Studio 75 is going to host a cockfight: Nazir Tanbouli vs Jonathan Comerford.

Their work originates in graphic drawing; confident, expressive, and individual in style and technique. They are both accomplished and highly skilled artists with ideas, who’ve exhibited together before. But this is not an exhibition.

The Cockfight is an experiment: putting these two male artists together in a small space for a week, working with a range of drawing techniques on opposing walls. It will be a stressful and dramatic encounter between two strong-minded and stubborn characters. It’s also a really “male” kind of act, and it will be interesting to see how the unfettered-by-politeness testosterone fuelled project affects their work.

Nobody else will be allowed into the Studio until the doors are opened to public on the 17th of March, to see whatever the outcome of the experiment may be.

The idea behind The Cockfight is to turn away from all this is smooth, “cool” and non-confrontational in contemporary art today, and return to the more visceral, more ancient tradition of head to head competition.


Yesterday we had our first artists’ film and video screening. Everyone in the studio works with moving images at least occasionally and Andrea and I are pretty much full time film makers, so it is appropriate that the studio be a space we can showcase our work and that of others. We want the screenings to be informal and to provide a point of debate, not only about the films themselves but about filmic practice.

For our first show we decided to screen work we made in the past. This was interesting because as well as show our work to the visitors we also actually ended up introducing ourselves to one another. Nazir made two films back in 2005 and nothing since, but one thing we all agreed is that he needs to continue to do films, especially like the stop-motion black and white animation BALADI (which you can see here).

We did realise that actually organising a screening in a place like the studio is not that easy. The space is not that big, although it does make a great little screening room, and so does not fit many people. It’s not like an exhibition where people come in and go out; at a screening people come and (hopefully) stay the distance. So we were a bit uncertain how to publicise it. Among our circle of acquaintance only, or publicize the programme more widely? First come first serve, or by a booking system? In the end we circulated the emails of invitation to our own mailing list only, and we did ask people to book; but they didn’t, they just turned up. We’ll have to devise a better system next time.

We’re planning to do screenings once or twice a month. Andrea will be organising a programme called FLAT SCREENS which will be documentaries and art films mainly focusing on subjects about housing, locality and society. This will start in April for a year. As well as helping with that, I’m going to do more irregular screenings. The next one I programme will be works that involve some form of performativity in the landscape (urban or rural). Haven’t got a date for that. The studio is booking up, we just keep coming up with ideas.

The House on Sadovaya Street, by Gillian McIver

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This is my first post, as we opened Studio 75 last week as a space open to the public. Each of us is taking turns organising or curating events. The first show was curated by Nazir Tanbouli, with drawings by Nazir along with Glenn Ibbitson who came up fmr Wales, South African born Jonathan Comerford (hardgroundprintmakers) and Londoner Tom G Adriani. Nazir’s gathering a small but strong group of graphic based artists; tellingly this first show was called The Draughtsman as it emphasised the rigorous approach to drawing all 4 of them have, though their work is very different.

We discovered that the space, which is an old studio flat, holds quite a bit of work with out being cluttered.

Studio 75 doesn’t have any particular style, criteria or school of thinking. We are just going to present what we find to be relevant and intriguing. We want to amke a space away from the requirements of established structures, commercial concerns, academia and the latest fashions in art and mass media.

It is a non-profit, self-funded, non-commercial venture. We have no core funding and don’t intend to get any. We are looking at sustainability in the arts, and in particular we don’t want to be held to anyone’s criteria.

Ourfirst point of concern is getting people to know where we are, and to pop down. Right now we are using the web mostly and word of mouth. You can chack us out on or on studio75 on Facebook.

Hopefuly you’ll follow this blog and see how we get on :-)

Filmed and edited by Glenn Ibbitson