I spent Sunday afternoon strolling, schmoozing and looking at artists studios in Brunswick. It was a day funded with gold coin donations for food and drinks. An afternoon of saying: “Didn’t I see your work in an exhibition at x gallery, y years ago?”, so please forgive me if I don’t mention every artist that I chatted with.
The open studio event was organised by Charlotte Watson and Josh Simpson who are both at Studio 23A, a former cool-store housing warehouse before it was divided up into artist studios in 2002. Studio 23A is a very large upstairs space with a large outdoor space where they were holding a BBQ and exhibiting a few sculptures.
Starting at Studio 23A in Leslie Street and following a trail of yellow balloons to Tinning Street. Roughly the same route that I took on my recent psychogeographical walk. The narrow strip of land between the railway line and Sydney Road full of old factories and warehouses is the artistic centre of Brunswick, not just for the visual artists but street artists, musicians, dancers and circus arts.
Squishface Studio is a one-room shop front comic studio with half a dozen table serving the artists that share the studio, as well as, the comic drawing classes. Three artists were working there on Sunday afternoon including one of the founders of studio, Ben Huchtings. Jo Waite was working there now that Brunswick Arts has closed. The third artist had her headphones on and I didn’t want to interrupt her.
On Ovens Street is SoCA, School of Clay and Art. SoCA is a new well-organised space for a ceramics school, large working spaces, kilns, and a room of potters wheels.
Studio Brunswick was the midway point on the walk; an upstairs space used by mid-career artists and photographers. It has large spaces rather than little divided rooms. I was familiar of Mark Ogge’s carnival paintings from exhibitions at Flinders Lane Gallery but not the large drawings of Selwyn Rodda, who he shared a large studio with.
Tinning St Presents…, the one gallery on the walk had Nut Ice, an exhibition of subtly suggestive digital print on silk by Clare Longley.
Pea Green Boat has a lot of little spaces, divided with temporary partitions and curtains it looks like a refugee camp for artists. Especially when compared to the studio next door, the attractively designed 33 Tinning Street with the transparent corrugated dividing walls set with recycled glass doors.
33 Tinning Street is the most recent of these studio spaces, it is only 10 months old and has the unusual combination of selling rugs, life drawing classes and studio space. In the studio spaces, along with the visual artists, there is a fashion designer and a composer.
The most northerly creative hub in Brunswick, the cluster of galleries and studios at Tinning Street only happened after it was made into a cul-de-sac with the closer of the railway crossing.