Sydney artists Vanessa, Nat and Emma, who are taking part in our creative live/work program that offers a 12-month affordable apartment lease on William Street, take us into their homes.
How would you describe your work for our readers?
Vanessa Marian: I make dance accessible through weekly classes and community programs that teach street dance or movement. I run classes for the ‘every day person’, as well as dementia sufferers and newly arrived refugee girls.
Nat Randall: My practice sits across contemporary performance, theatre, stand up, video and broadcasting. My work in the past has been described as masochistic, repetitive, excessive and at times comedic, intimate and tragic.
Emma Ramsay: I’m building an online radio project where people can hear a range of art texts and creative and academic writing. With recent technological and cultural shifts around radio, it is an interesting space for an artist to occupy – expanding on the creative potential of ‘one to many’ radio broadcast. I hope Source Material becomes a platform for artists to almost ‘report back’ to their communities in strange and abstract ways. Over the long term, I’d like it to capture a chapter of contemporary Australian art as an audio archive.
Tell us what it’s like to share the William’s Street building with 5 other artists.
Vanessa Marian: Where to start? Living with fellow artists in the same building comes with an unspoken code of support, appreciation and an understanding of what it’s like to be an emerging artist in Sydney. It’s not uncommon to walk past an apartment playing loud music, or with its doors wide open as photographers, stylists and set designers wander in and out, creating something. We all just get it, so there’s a quiet comfort in not needing to explain yourself if you bump into each other with a giant awkward box of equipment or paint-splattered clothes.
Nat Randall: It’s pretty special space to live in. You can simultaneously live a very independent existence, but still feel totally connected to a community of really great artists practicing across different mediums. The proximity means we are always running into each other, checking in on each other’s work and informally collaborating and learning. And getting together for a drink. I had a nice moment the other day where I was at home and I could hear Tom (who lives directly below me) composing a solid sound score (some Mortal Combat inspired beats) for a project I am undertaking with Hissy Fit for new work with the MCA. It was pretty special to be privy to Tom’s process of making. I love his work so the sound bleed between apartments is a dream.
Emma Ramsay: It has an expanded collective feel, because a lot of us have practices that are quite collaborative. While we are autonomous in our practice, there is a leaning on each other for incidental assistance and social support. I think that the practical and social elements of our exchanges are really rewarding parts of the residency.
If you could choose any living artist to live with at William Street, who would it be and why?
Vanessa Marian: I’m going to go with FKA Twigs. I admire her collaborative process with dancers and her respect for culture – she uses authentic dance styles without appropriating them, making some pretty incredible visuals from it all. Her work has commercial appeal without being commercial. I like the idea of making art accessible without selling out.
Nat Randall: Outside of the flat mates I already keep… That’s a tricky question. I reckon I would want to live with Sarah Goffman. I adore her practice and she is one of the least pretentious artists I’ve ever encountered. She is also one of the funniest people I have ever met and I could learn a lot about art and life from living with her.
Emma Rasmay: Debris Facility Pty Ltd (an arts collective/project from Melbourne) would be most welcome at William Street. I’d be keen to see how their work translates to a Sydney art community with their questioning and demonstrations, particularly around the de-materialisation of value. I would love to do some kind of text based broadcast that could act as a philosophical exploration of their practice and the way people react to their work.