IN CONVERSATION | SCULPTOR- WAYNE CHISNALL

30.04.20

“I think artists always have to sort of strive to find, you know, find their place in the world I think is that kind of thing. I’m not sure that if things are handed to you on a plate, whether you become complacent.”

-Wayne Chisnall



Wayne Chisnall, not only a sculptor, but a multidisciplinary artist in the painting, drawing, prints and writing fields. Much of his practice involves the reworking of found objects that have a certain ‘resonance.’ By using materials already loaded with meaning and associations, he’s able to play with people’s expectations and create narratives that lurch between the humorous and the uncanny. [ Waynechisnall.blogspot.com]












What is your definition of studio space? 

Anywhere that’s suitable for working, somewhere with enough space. I have had a lot of studios over the years and a lot of them were quite small, but yeah anywhere where you got enough room for storage and to actually work. Currently, I moved out of London basically because I was living in East London. I moved there originally because that’s where all the big warehouses were and lots of cheap space. But over the years, as everyone knows, the artists move in and it becomes quite trendy and developers move in and knock down all the spaces the artists use as studios. So yeah, that’s the reason I moved out of London. 

I actually bought a house in Shropshire, it’s like a three bedroom house, but I actually use it as a live/work space. 

So when you built that workspace, what were the elements that were most important to you?

It’s enough room for storage, especially working as a sculptor there are a lot of materials, so yeah enough room for  storage. And there will be a lot of found materials that I’ll sort of collect that may never get used. There’s a garage which I converted into the workshop so all my power tools and machinery is in there. Somewhere to manipulate materials.  It’s like, either one conservatory is like an assemblage point for me to sort of where I can sit and work through things. Yeah, so different studio areas for different processes. 

Like the large bedroom in the house was converted into my painting studio. And it’s one of those, also ironically, the one of  the larger rooms which is just one of those comfortable spaces. It’s sort of functional somewhere. I use the kitchen also as my workspace or a mini studio for any small project that doesn’t take up too much space and it’s a nice area to work. I think every space is quite flexible. There are just certain spaces that are more dedicated than others. 

Collaborative/communal studio spaces are on the rise in London. Do you believe this formula can work?

For some people, I’ve over the years have had studio spaces where I’ve sort of shared you know, shared areas with other artists And yeah, um yeah, I think I think, you know, there are like, different artists with different temperaments and like sometimes certain artists can work well together and others not so much. Studios I’ve shared with one or two other artists and it’s generally worked really well.

I’ve had friends who have used those sort of hack spaces and I think are very useful for and especially if there’s a certain technology or equipment that you’d like to use, but don’t really know much about. I’ve not myself used those but yeah, definitely see the advantage of them. 

I know you’ve moved out of London, but when you were in London, do you believe the city had an impact on your art?

Still being away, but I think also a lot of the sort of, I suppose the evolution of my art. A lot of it was not yet my influences come from outside the city, I consider myself a fine artist, sculptor, painter, etc. But I think my influences have often come from outside of that world so from, materials, nature. Animation was a big influence, especially my early days and a lot of my work was quite self referential, a lot of the early pieces influenced later so yeah, obviously the art world, London’s great because you got the museums and galleries and higher density of other eyes to interact with. Think on the whole I think, my work gets developed pretty much anywhere I find suitable.

What do you think the future of studio space will look like? 

You have a sort of reminisce on that I moved out of London three years ago. A lot of other artists, I think just get to the point where, oh, I just couldn’t afford this for the decent sized spaces in London, like me, and so I think studio spaces will be anywhere it’s big enough for an artist to create. I think in the current climate, I think it’s gonna be maybe the other areas moving outside of the big cities.

How do you believe we can ensure artists remain in London, in the future? 

 Yeah, I mean, obviously offering  affordable studio space, but I don’t ever see that happening. You know, it’s one of those things I don’t think governments or industry is ever gonna be. It’s just one of the things.  And I don’t know whether also, you know, in areas or countries where maybe they have been bit more generous to artists. I don’t know whether it actually works. I think Artists always have to sort of strive to find, you know, find their place in the world I think is that kind of thing. I’m not sure that if this things are handed to you on a plate, whether you become complacent. Although, yeah, obviously, you know, there are really hard working artists out there who just haven’t got the space or time to do work. So yeah, it’s a hard one because I think with that, you know, money invested in artists in a studio space can be increasingly difficult. 

How do you think artists can collaborate, communicate with developers in London to try to maintain that cultural community?

Maybe the internet communities would be an idea in a way. I’m not sure. Yeah, I mean, artists are a creative source. So I think if developers could tap into that in a sort of non exploitative way, then yeah. It could be as a symbiotic thing that an artist, yeah, maybe maybe developers set aside space for artists as well. So this is one of those things that, you know, a lot of areas become sort of desirable because of the creative community that is there and, and as developers move in and take advantage of that raises the price, the price of the area and pushes the artists out. So maybe if they can leave areas, you know, or set aside, subsidised areas that would encourage the artists to stay. And it would benefit both in the end, but unfortunately, as a species, we tend to be a little bit greedy and a bit short sighted. Hopefully, if we put that aside and think of the long term picture, then maybe it could work.