One of the tutors on the Fine Art course invited us to his open studio. We went on Friday, curious to see his work (and his studio).
We're half heartedly looking for a studio to share, but affordable studio space is now like gold dust, as property developers muscle in on London and every building gets turned into expensive flats.
Open studios are interesting, and slightly uncomfortable for everyone concerned. (Unless you're a plutocratic art collector, aiming to buy for your collection.)
You shuffle in and out of everyone's own little private space, which feels kind of like going into their bedroom, except you're being invited to look at and criticise the art they've got on the walls. Do you talk to them? Do you ask them about their technique? You want to be polite, but you don't want to encourage them too much, in case they mistake you for a plutocratic art collector.
You might be impressed, you might be knocked out by the work, you might be indifferent. You might be shocked at how terrible and amateur it is. This is what it's like, a total lucky dip.
There was a lot of good stuff (my tutor's work is genius. He's a great painter but his work has something very disturbing about it. I might buy it if I was rich, but I'd hang it somewhere I didn't have to look at it if I didn't want to.)
But what really impressed us was the studios. They are an "old BR rolling stock repair workshop" situated at the end of a nice residential street near Finsbury Park. Each studio was huge (we realised that one was bigger than all of our houses) high ceilings, vast windows, centrally heated (some studios are freeezing.) They were different shapes and sizes, but all had features like balconies, mezzanines, space for sofas and kitchen units.
We came out a bit depressed. We weren't talking about the work so much as how each artist could afford the studio, and how we'd never be able to find anywhere like it.
Anyway, it's not all doom and gloom. The last studio we visited was this artist that is new to me. I absolutely love her work. (She also has a very nice dog, a Jack Russell.) Her style is influenced by years of living in Kyoto. I would have happily bought the lot. I will do when I'm a plutocratic art collector.