Our latest creative live/work residents have well and truly settled into their William Street apartments – and they’ve been busy! We chatted to the 6 wonderfully productive artists about their latest projects, how they’ve been using their spaces and their time together in 1 building.
What projects are you planning for your time at William St?
Electronic artist and researcher Pia van Gelder: I recently made a collaborative work for the August UTS Gallery Show, Sounding the Future. The multimedia installation was entitled Iron Star and was produced with former William Street resident, Tom Smith. The piece considers a distant future in which the universe contains only iron. We depicted iron as both the final state of the universe, and as a proliferating array of objects, derivatives and metaphors.
I’m about to go to the United States to visit Black Mountain College Museum with curator Caleb Kelly and artist Peter Blamey. We’ll present a project there in 2019 that responds to the history of that college and its rich contribution to the sound in the arts.
Also, recently, I have been working on a new work that involves textiles and electronics and explores the correspondences between sound and tactility. This work will be presented at MAMA in Albury early next year.
Performance artist, writer and activist Candy Royalle: I’ve been working on a number of projects. The one I’m most excited about is my most recent manuscript A trillion tiny awakenings, which is a brand new collection of poetry.
Singer/producer Rainbow Chan: I am currently writing my second album and working towards a solo exhibition for a Master of Fine Art at UNSWAD. I have also started a fashion label Aotu and endeavoured in a few new collaborations including DIN (a techno project with Alex Ward) and video works with Hyun Lee. In 2018, I will be working towards shows and events at 4A, Firstdraft, Alaska Projects and Verge Gallery.
Intermedia artist Giselle Stanborough: At the moment I am focusing on a work for an exhibition in Melbourne over the summer. The exhibition looks at feminism in Australian art and has given me the opportunity to re-examine my work from an historical perspective. I’m taking a fresh look at the feminist artists who have influenced me and thinking about the issues we face today to imagine a feminist future.
Ceramicist Milly Dent: So far, my time at William Street has been largely productive. I have been continuing collaborating with Painter Evi O and illustrator Flora Waycott and working on my first solo exhibition at Saint Cloche gallery. I also hosted 3 workshops, have been involved in collaborative pop-up shops and designed and made lots of new work. I am excited about making work for the upcoming Sydney Museum Christmas Fare at the Hyde Park Barracks. I was invited to join a bunch of other makers through the Australia Design Centre. I also plan to curate an immersive dining event, a unique eating experience where the food is the artistic medium. I’ll create custom ceramics to suit all foods. Picture a table of ceramics and food! I will also be making a range, including a mix of ceramic instruments.
Artist Tully Arnot: The light in the apartments is amazing, with huge windows on the north and east sides. I’ve been using this natural light for photographic projects. At the moment I’m working with macro photographs of skin and people, and the natural light is important for achieving good tonal qualities in the images.
I’ve also been making some small kinetic light sculptures that use moving mirrors and lenses to refract light about the room. It’s nice to work on new things like this – they’ve come about in response to the environment of the William Street spaces.
What will having an affordable apartment of your own allow you to achieve?
Pia: I will be using the space to generate new work and research. It’s useful to have some space and privacy to live and work in, without imposing on other housemates, as one does in a share house.
Candy: Being able to work in this space – the quiet, the time, the ability to worry less about rent and more about my craft. This improves the quality of my work and the amount of work I can create. It means my focus is more on what I am writing, rehearsing and making than how I’m going to make ends meet this week.
Rainbow: It’s been really lovely waking up and having my studio space set up and ready to go. I’ve never been this productive. I love being close to various events happening in the city of Sydney. The luxury of having my own space and routine has allowed me to do a lot of thinking, writing and cooking.
I wrote and released an EP, titled FABRICA, during the first half of my residency here. It’s been well received and now I am embarking on a short tour across Taiwan, Hong Kong and China to share these songs with international audiences for the first time! I’m very excited.
Giselle: Having a space of my own is invaluable to my practice. Having a combined live/ work studio helps me to balance my various work commitments. I have set up a makeshift green screen in my studio, which is something I couldn’t do in my last apartment because it wasn’t big enough. It is fantastic to have the space to make new work.
Milly: The space is fantastic. It has already allowed me an incredible workspace to focus solely on my creative practise. There is room for me to photograph work as well as design and prototype pieces.
Tully: It’s great to have my own space to think and work in, especially so close to galleries and the city. Much of my work deals with nature and plant life, and it’s been amazing to walk down the road to the Botanic Garden to read or work though some thoughts.
What has been the highlight of living in a building full of other creative neighbours?
Pia: We are all very busy working towards our individual goals. It’s inspiring to be in the presence of such a powerhouse of artists.
Rainbow: Everyone is very understanding and relaxed. I think there’s a mutual respect for each other’s crafts and strange working hours. I like bumping into my neighbours on the rooftop when I’m hanging out my washing and hearing about their amazing upcoming projects.
Giselle: Everyone is so friendly and considerate. It is lovely to catch up with them in the hallway or at industry events, especially when I get to hear my neighbours talk about their work. Everyone has been busy with lots of exciting projects so I’m looking forward to the silly season where we can all have a catch up on the rooftop.
Milly: The apartments just have a great energy and it’s nice to know the other tenants are all working on their art practise on either side of me each day. A definite plus is the rooftop –` it’s such a fantastic space to enjoy (with harbour views!).
Tully: Creative people are extremely busy. We don’t all clock off at 5pm and hang out. Everyone works long and strange hours at their day jobs or in the studio, so it’s actually pretty quiet most of the time with everyone working on their own things. There have been some really lovely stairwell chats, crossing paths with armloads of groceries or art supplies, or catching up in the laundry room. Hopefully over the summer we will have more time off to hang out, share ideas and maybe collaborate on things!