The artist and sculptor Antony Gormley has added his voice to growing concerns about the availability and affordability of artists’ studio spaces in London.
Gormley was speaking at an event at his studio in King’s Cross, London on Monday night to mark the launch of Studiomakers, a new initiative aimed at tackling the shortage of creative spaces in the capital.
Calling for measures to protect London’s “rich and hybrid city life”, he said that even more than talent and determination “what an artist needs… is space”, adding that “for many in the artistic community, developers are the enemy”.
The Studiomakers initiative hopes to build links between artists, the wider creative sector and developers in order to encourage the creation of new and affordable creative workspaces in London.
Backed by the Mayor of London’s cultural team, Create, Second Home and PLP Architecture, the launch event was attended by artists, architects, developers and politicians, including Munira Mirza, London’s deputy mayor for education and culture.
Mirza said: “Artists, designers and other creative people are hugely important for our city’s success. Not only does the work they produce generate billions for our economy, it is their presence that makes this such an exciting place to live, visit and do business in.
“In acting as a matchmaker between developers and the creative sector, I hope Studiomakers will make a real difference to ensure creativity and innovation can continue to thrive in our city.”
Candida Gertler, co-founder of Outset, added that “we are looking to turn the ever-increasing studio crisis into an opportunity” by creating a “huge alliance of spirit” between the creative community and developers.
She continued: “Real action is needed and we know that it is in the developer community’s power to counteract the huge tide that is pushing artists and creatives out of London. Outset will do all we can to act as a catalyst and broker between those communities… losing those who contribute so much to London’s vibrancy and economy is not an option.”
Hadrian Garrard, director of Create, said that there was a “desperate need” for the project. He added: “We want artists to stay in our city, as neighbours, collaborators and visionaries.”