Studio Hunt

Studio is not just workshop space

Studio is an essential part of artist practice. If you live in a big house with empty space or room, you could make your works at home. This is the most cheapest and easiest way. Studios are not just for making your own works, also buiding a community and a network. Studios have their own identities. It shows directly your creative process in public.

I stayed an artist residency in Beppu Japan. 7 selected artists share a studio apartment for a year. This is supported by an art organization who runs an international triennale, local art projects. In 2019, they invided Anish Kapoor to built new works in a local park. Compared to Anish, my residency place is an old traditional Japanese wooden apartment without air conditioning, old Japanese toilet style, no shower or bath. Beppu is a city of hot spring, there are more than 100 of public bath(real natural hot spring from the ground!), so I have never had a miserable time. l had the most luxury bath experience in my life.

I had two rooms, one is for living, one is for work. This residency became popular by local people who don’t know anything about art. They find us intersting because we are tough enough to live in such a strange apartment.

This gives a lots of benefits to us. I could have exhibitions anytime I want. If I decide to do it, I could get visitors and audiences easily. Because we were in the local community. They are really helpful too.

Another benefit is that this place is in a country side of Japan, when the art organization invite international/domesitic artists/curators/musicians to their projects, they visited the residency. It was helpful to built my art network not just with visual artists as well as musicians, directors, performers, designers who I could have not be able to meet if I worked only by myself.

Spinneral is an old cotton mill art studio complex in Leipzig in Germany which is famous for artists from “New Leipzig School” set up their studio around in here. […]open to new ideas and appreciated the requirements of young, creative people needing exceptional spaces to rent at a reasonable price. (Spinnerei website, This gave Spinnerei associated with art and new identities of the site. One studio can lead city’s art scene as well as attention in worldwide. The potential of art studio is enormous. Studios are not just a place to make art works also make creative networks. 

Research providers in London  


Online must be the best way for the studio hunt. I visited all website listed on my UAL at first. One of them “Acava” seems have many currently available studios both inside London also outside. I tried to register for a viewing, but I need couple of more documents to be prepared so I haven’t done it yet (07.Jan.2019). I like this small barrier, they care who would rent, not just how much you can pay bias. There are some  in Deptford where I am interested in for really reasonable rent price for the large space. This is pretty good. Why I am interested in Deptford is that  I saw their annual independent artist-led  festival “Deptford X” information in last September. Unfortunately, when I saw the information the event had already finished, so I didn’t see it in a real time. According to their website, the festival was 19th last year. This is pretty amazing to have being carrying on such a long time as a self- organized community. This gives me a good impression.  

 Studio provided by “Bow arts” is fascinating too, because of their big networks. They organize education programs, projects space, residencies etc,. Their procedure seems serious too. They want only creative people who work hard and work hard on community as well. This must bring a nice energy to avoid studios become storage.

Artist’s Studio Finder by London’s artist quarter & Kent creative workspace has a list of available studio in London and Kent. Acava has a studio complex in Stoke-on-Trent where is near Manchester. It sounds crazy, but actually Stoke is just an hour away from London Euston by train within few stops. I am interested in pottery now. This is the place of Wedgewood. They must be many ceramic studios too. This is not that bad idea.

After looking through those websites, I am relieved from the hopeless of having affordable studios in London (outside too). There are more possibilities than I expected and more opportunities to be in an art network after graduation by renting and working in the studios. My ideal is owning or renting abandoned space with my friends and renovate together to make a new art complex. Platform for an experiment, spontaneous or immediate and long-term researching projects somewhe

Studio Hunt2

photo by Mio Ebisu

It has not been so difficult to find a studio in London than I expected. I had to have a studio before I graduate Wimbledon to continue to work without any blank even this will effect financially,,,.This is same as everywhere, it is hard to let people know who I am in the place where I don’t know anybody. In some places, I am asked to take a criminal closure to proof I am not a criminal.

One of my friend who is a musician had a studio before through SET which is a an art organization for providing affordable studios to artists. An amazing policy they have is “first come, first served” basis. They have several studio spaces different area in London, all associated member is 500.

I contacted SET for a viewing.

The viewing happened in few days after I contacted them. It is near Lewisham station. The studio space was used to be a baby products chain store “Mothercare”. There are still few massive photos of baby hanging on the wall.

There is a project room for studio member.

I really like this project space and studio. I always wanted to have a studio in a warehouse!!

“SET is a multifaceted arts and community initiative based in numerous centres across London. SET curates an eclectic and experimental arts programme alongside affordable artist workspace.

SETprojects includes performances, live music, exhibitions, talks, workshops and screenings, which seeks to provide a platform for new and collaborative projects. With an inclusive ethos always, SET is a community which aims to bridge gaps between disciplines, creating a platform for collaboration and multidisciplinary experimentation.

SET is currently home to over 100 artists and has a membership of over 500. SET hosts artists working in a variety of practices and disciplines from text, performance and installation to music, sound, print, textiles and more.”

We have decided to take the unit of 367sqf for £440 a month. For complete the procedure, we went to get a signed document by solicitors for “we are not going to squat this studio, when a landlord say get out, we leave immediately without questioning” something like this.

In Berlin, tenants are well protected by a law to have a strong right as close as what a landlord has which is great. Landlords can’t increase rent fee without renovation, so if tenants have never left the apartment, rent fee stays the same. This makes it hard to find an apartment with a proper contract there, but once you have it, you are secured.

Inside the space was just empty, no walls, no divisions, there is only masking tape draws borders for each unit on the floor. We need to build wall, and music studio.

SET gave a good Facebook group called SET (coincidence) which is a community of stage prop. They share used setting equipment for selling, giving shar or needs. There are lots of used materials on sale for cheap price, so we got the main wall materials from the community. Price was 1/5 than the original price.

15-22th June this project space will be used by participants from ‘antiuniversity’ festival.


I am organizing a group exhibition in the first weekend of October at the project space. I will exhibit the paintings I didn’t show at the degree show.

Art Funding

Represented by a commercial gallery to sell your art works is not the only way to be artists. Many countries in Europe has an amazing funding (Japan is rubbish in this field). In Berlin, there are lots of different funds you can apply if you live there, no matter your nationalities.

Many artists run spaces are funded by Berlin city, so director/artist can get pay yourself by organizing space. This is why there are many indepedent art spaces in Berlin. Public funding encourages artists to create events, opens cultural spaces. Art should not be considered as free labour, art and cultural activities bring huge benefit to a society and a city. Berlin could not be an attractive city without artists, a gentlification in many places tends to happen after artists brought culture. A creative effort should be valued by a government to keep the place active and lively. Because there are area that could not be a commercial business.

The great thing about Arts council England, you can apply 4 times a year, which you can try many times until you get it. If you have an adress in European Union you are elligible which means I am elligible too. They make the decision in 6 weeks which is quick as well.

I worked with British musicians to organize collaboration events in Japan, we(I am not eligilbe but I am involved with as a collaborator) applied the funding and luckily, we got it, it allowed me organize events in Japan and get paid.

Art funding in Japan are really limited. Number of fundings are few, and most of the selected candidates are universities or big organizations. It is almost impossible for individual artist get it.

Public funding is so important factor for artists for survive this society, also great for society with full of culture, and happening.

Chinese Van Gogh

I loved the film, I watched twice after the film screening. This documentary is about a city has a big industry to create fake master piece paintings in China. Workers are producing fake western classical master pieces everyday. The one of the painter of the city who has never seen the real Van Gogh’s paintings in real goes to Netherland to see the original works and visits the store he is working for.

Business can only survive if there are people who buy their products or services, this is pretty surprised there are many people who buy the fake Van Gogh’s paintings.

During the journey, he started questioning his own style to express himself in painting. He didn’t make any clear answer, but he has started to draw his picture.

There are some questions come up in this documentary, such as from “ is he an artis?” “ should artists have own expressioin?” “What is the value of fake art?” to the current map of inequality between Chinese labor and other international countries which makes a profit from using low wage workers.

My main wonder was “ How can it be a successful business? “ It means there are many people who buy fake paintings?

In the documentary, the price of those paintings is not as cheap as I expected. They are around 800 €. This is not cheap. I thought they would be similar to printed canvases at IKEA. I prejudiced that people who buy these paintings tend to buy those fake paintings, they don’t care much about art, so 800€ sounds a big commitment.

When the main character visited the shop which sells his paintings. He was quite shocked. Because they are not fancy than his expected. The shop is actually a souvenir shop, piles of unstretched canvases are hung from the ceiling to walls. They are shocked because their paintings are not treated as art.

The replica business reminds me of a wax museum “Madame Tussauds”.

I was surprised by the long queue in front of the one in London from the bus I was in. I assumed they are all tourists, there are many things to see in London, and even though the top quality museum is free to enter. Why there are many people want go to a wax museum with a high entrance fee?!

Madame Tussauds opens 26 places all over the world which tells how people are interested in celebrities.

However, people who go to Madame Tussauds must be aware of the wiredness that they can take pictures together, and it could be super “kitsch”. Wax dolls are everybody you know well from TV, magazines but you have never met them in person. You will definitely have an exciting time because you know them. You are not sure what would be, you know what it is what you can get. Entertainment is a safe place and secure. There is no time you encounter something you don’t know which is not fun.

Intervening in something that you know and are well known to others may satisfy your desire for approval by other people. For those who buy spurious Van Gogh pictures, billions of money would cost, now it is available at 800 €, what a bargain. People tend to be sweetened to what they know.


While I was research about Rose Wylie, I encountered a word of reverse perspective. I have known this word since the elementary school in Japanese history class but it was gone away to oblivion. It was brought it back to my mind. I learnt through the 12th centruries scroll painting ‘Genji-Monogatari-Emaki’源氏物語絵巻 : Genji-Monogatari(‘Tale of Genji’) is a classic work of Japanese literature written by the noblewoman and lady-in-waiting Murasaki Shikibu in the early years of the 11th century. Emaki :絵巻 means scroll painting. School text book said that this scroll painting uses pictorial techniques such as ‘fukinuki-yatai’ (blown-off roof) and ‘reverse perspective’. fukinuki-yatai is a form of composition that gives a bird’s-eye view of the interior of the building, roofs or ceilings are not shown.

(Genji-monogatari-emaki:源氏物語絵巻) .

I assumed “perspective” referes only for the one is mathmatically mesurable. Other is not called “perspective” and not be concerned as an appearance of reality.

What kind of perspective I am using when I am painting? I was not aware how I look the view.

Just a sound of the word was enough me to get excited. I had been struggling to reconstruct my painting which blends West and East aesthetics, even though I didn’t know what Eastern paintings are as well as what Western paintings are. I tried to understand them from my physical, emotional experiences when I see them in real or books. Experiemce of Japanese paintings are memories of physical and mental comfortness. Most of them were not made for “fine art” made for interior in temples, shrines for religious reasons. They are blending together nicely with gardens, seasons and philosophy of harmony. I always wanted to use the essence of them, but this is difficult because they seem to be too much stylised.

When I refer “Western painting” was the painting s are painted by imitation of nature. A convincing illusion of a tridimensional scene into two-dimensional.Every pictorial representation such as size and shape are governed by the point of view.

This way is somehow too rigid for me.

On the way of contenuing my research, I found that David Hockney has been experimenting about this subject since 80’s. I am glad to know that this has been a common issue in painting. I watched lectures that he gave at Getty and Southern California Institute of Architecture(SCI-arc) on YouTube which were really great. The one at SCI-arc, he talked about the new documentary film he and Phillip Haas made about 17th century Chinese scroll painting. The length of documentary was supposed to be 10min but for scroll painting, it needs 12 mins at least to show the whole. In case of scroll paintings, this media is more like an animation shared ongoing time sequence with viewers.

He mentioned “moving focus” in this lecture. According to him, eye is moving even the imgae stop, and when you look at the surface it took time to get a sensce of space, Chinese painting uses this function of eyes as a principle.

He mentioned a fixed point of view perspective take audience outside of the painting. This point of view is so intresting,,,,,.

I was so excited, so I made a drawing with the sense of moving focus.

This is a view from a sofa where I sit.

(photos with multiple perspective for this drawing)

(My old sketch from 2017 ‘Kitchen’ I used similar way of looking in this drawing)

I can see the diference perception of visual between here and Japan in advertising or photo edited with photoshop. For example adviertising of tourist spot, Japanese like to leave blank and empty space, no much colour contrast, no shadow and fading the material details away, they like to give an atmosphere to viewer the place when you are there. Here, tourist spots edited dramatic, high contrast and focus on detail texture. This is that I can see somehow the principle of looking at the view is different. Japanese advertise focus on giving information of the simulation of being there. British advertise focus on what you will see when you are there.