“I know a lot of people that are now moving into collaborative spaces in order to get more space, but that means a lot of people in a very small studio, it makes it difficult to produce.”
– Rayvenn D’Clark
Working primarily in sculpture, digital sculpting, 3D printing, based in South London.
She found her way to sculpting though photography, keeping her practice very digital based. Having recently finished her Masters at Chelsea College of Art where she studied for the past 5 years, she is now navigating the path of finding studio space, and where she will create her artwork moving forwards.
What is your definition of studio space?
A place where my practise is based. Where I can go, away from home. Where all my materials are, and contains all the tools and materials that I can use to make my art, at any given moment. Another home away from home.
Is there anything that you would require from a studio space?
No, to be honest. I’m quite easy with that.
I don’t care if its cold, I just need the space. Somewhere to sit down, relax my mind, calm my thoughts and I am good to go. I work on a small scale at the moment, but I am looking to increase in scale soon, and when that happens I would need larger space but for now I just need a space that is away from everyone, where I can just make my work. I need it to be quiet, and I make a lot of calls to different printers and vendors so its important that I am able to continue doing that within a space that is my own.
So, do you believe that collaborating wouldn’t work for you?
I think it would work, I could make it work. I know what I’m like, so when I’m in ‘work mode’ I need to be left alone which would be made hard if there is people buzzing around. My friends make sculpture but it involves sawing and drilling which is of course very loud, so for this reason I would have to locate myself somewhere else while they’re doing that, which would make me a bit of a nuisance if your sharing. Nevertheless, I do very much enjoy communal spaces.
We’ve been having a discussion where each artist would have their separate studio space and then there was a area that housed many forms of facilities elsewhere within the building that all artist residence has access to, but this still ensured that they had their own space.
When you leave uni, it’s hard. You miss that community that you had around you and it feels very weird working alone. I think it would be nice to have your own little space, but then if there was still a ‘meeting pod’ which allowed you to ‘reconnect’ in order to collaborate and work with each-other.
There are times when you just want to have people around you while you’re working, it is very weird dynamic when you’re so used to having people around, like I have for the last 5 years.
Whats the most important thing for you, when you’re looking for a studio space?
I think location. It cannot be a million miles from anywhere. Sometimes I’ll find myself running around a lot and that means I need to be able to get to certain places very quickly. Preferably, not too far outside of London – which is where I am based – and within close distance to some form of a transport link so I can easily get around.
Have you had any ideas for places you might use for a studio space?
Since I have just finished with university, I have set myself the goal of figuring it out within the new year. I haven’t put a lot of thought to it, if I’m honest. My friends are lowly finding studio space and it is encouraging me to sit down and make my own plans. I live south of the river, so that means that it can be is extremely expensive for a tiny studio space.
Have you seen a space and thought, that could work for me?
I have seen some great studio spaces, in slightly strange locations if I’m honest. Where it could work but then I always have had the thought that I’m not certain, and if I am hesitant it normally wouldn’t be the best idea in that moment.
Sometimes I’ll be sitting around and someone will email me to say they’re having a PV and if it’s too far away I wouldn’t be so motivated to go, but if you’re located more centrally then it’s easy for you to just pop in and pop out as you like. At university, myself and my friends were in the studio all-day and so you want to have the freedom to leave and not feel like it’s eating away at all your time each time you leave.
How long do you think you’d be in that same studio, in terms of location?
Just because I am based in South London, it would be preferable to have my studio in the South too, but it wouldn’t deter me to move outside of this space. I don’t have any particular preference, I just think if the space is right then it isn’t the biggest thing if it happens to be further out than I intended.
Do you feel that if you were outside of London, your art would be affected?
I would try not to let it but I think it would. I think the dynamic would shift; from being so central at university I have got used to the dynamic where events etc. are popping up. Especially at the Chelsea campus (Pimlico), which is on the Victoria line, so even if the PV is really far away, you can get the very quickly. I am so used to darting around and going straight back to work.
It would definitely involve a change of mindset, but it wouldn’t deter me because I do understand that prices are very different the further you go outside of London. Sometimes you just have to make that decision, and I do think that due to my work being so expensive to make, I may have to eventually make this compromise with all of the outgoing costs.
How do you believe you could open a dialogue with developers?
Maybe I would just ask for developers to consider studio space when they are developing spaces. Sometimes it comes as an ‘afterthought’, when they’re not really sure on what they would want to do with a space. It would be great if it was more of a central feature or consideration when they’re planning. I’ve realised that in Peckham there are all of these really fun and unique spaces popping up, and because it is evident that the art scene is flourishing in that area because it was in their mind (developers) to make these spaces for artists. It would be great if this could happen in more places around London.
How long would you want a lease to be?
I would say yearly for me. I think it’s easy to get trapped within a contract that could last for too long, but then on the other hand you don’t want one thats only a couple of months because that can being quite unsettling.
How much do you feel like your art is affected by the size of your studio?
I think you are affected by your spaces. I feel as though, if I was in a box I wouldn’t be motivated to make anything big because I just wouldn’t have the space to store it.
A large space is very hard to come by, and the costs are extremely high. But it would also be a question of storing my equipment that I would need space for also as it isn’t too easy to just pick up and move it all, so its quite important that my equipment it would have its own space within my studio. It’d be great to have that freedom in your thinking – that your space allows – for you to be able to create pieces that are big. If you’re wanting to store larger art then it means paying for storage, which is just an additional cost on top of your existing studio fees.
Even if you had your studio but had shared storage with other people?
That would work. It’s just a matter of finding enough people that are on the same page that would make it, cost efficient. Many of the people that I have worked with at university and very willing to collaborate, so I think if there was a group of them that got a space together in Brixton and they’re flexible with who uses it, allowing others to pay them to pop in for a day, that work. Although they are very willing to collaborate, most of the time they would really just prefer their own space.
What do you think the future of studio space will be like, in London?
I think that they will be quite dynamic. I don’t think they will be set spaces, in the sense that the space may be a work space in the day, and an exhibition space in the evening for instance. I feel like the way that art is growing in London, these spaces have to be multi-functional. The lines between studio space and gallery space will blur, and have already begun to.
Having to renovate the entire work space for exhibitions was something that we had to do whilst I was at university. I believe it is a nice dynamic, because it allows both work and exhibition practices to merge.
I think, if it continues the way that its going art will be affected as artists will have to adapt to these complexities. The lack of space to actually do art will make a huge difference to the art of our future. I know a lot of people that have been relocated outside of the UK to nearby European cities such as Berlin.
Once you decide that you are going to do art professionally, it is almost this vow that you know that more than likely you’re not going to be overly rich but you will have to make it work. With that in mind, it would be beneficial if spaces considered this but they don’t.
The autonomy of design is very nice, you can pick and chose. But for me, it does become very difficult because I am not so focused on making money. But your practice is sustainable, and in order to be sustainable you almost have to be commercial so there is this ongoing internal battle, that is very taxing at times.
Coming straight out of University, are there any schemes to help these artists?
In terms of university, from what I have experienced if (your work) is within their area of interest then they will support you and perhaps buy it, but of course they have their own set budget for this and depending on the aesthetic of your university. I know that people are very idealistic about wanting to have this huge working space right in the centre of London, but I feel like as long as they have a space they will make do, and get the work done.