29 October 2014
Description:Guide2Bristol supports the Bristol Shop Local campaign by finding out about the great traders that make our city unique. This week we speak to studio manager Lucy Ward of artist collective Jamaica Street Artist Studios about art in the city.
Hi Lucy! Please give a brief introduction to your business and its history.
Jamaica Street Artist Studios occupies the top 3 floors of the former carriageworks on Jamaica Street in Stokes Croft. The Studios have been around for 21 years, developing, encouraging and producing some of Bristol’s best creative talent.
Briefly describe your business – what do you do each day?
There are about 40 artists who work at the Studios. What they do each day, and how they work depends on the kind of work they make. Most people are in every day, but some work elsewhere too, like those who teach.
We have a range of artists here, from painters to designers, illustrators to installation artists. The fine artists tend to have periods where they work really hard to produce lots of work before a show, then take time off to research and plan their next body of work. The illustrators and designers are mostly working to commission, coming in early and leaving late. Lots of them work on their computers, but others work freehand or in print, or a combination.
There’s no regular office hours at the studio, so people come and go at all hours. I work here 2 days a week and get in at 8.30. There’s always people here when I arrive, and always people here when I go home.
Where are you located, and what is the local trading scene like?
We are on Jamaica Street. We look out over Stokes Croft and can hear all that’s going on! The Studio has been here for over 20 years, and the local atmosphere has changed a great deal in that time. The Studios, and the success of its artists, has made a big contribution to the artistic and creative tone of the area.
How would you describe your average customer?
We work with lots of different people, organisations and groups, from commercial clients and art buyers, to collaborations with artists, and community education projects. This is a huge hub of creative expertise, and our studio holders have networks across the city, country and world.
There seems to be a real passion amongst people in Bristol to engage with local creativity, why do you think that is?
I think there’s lots of reasons. I think it’s partly because people love the city, and with this comes the desire to nurture what it creates. I think it’s also to do with the size of the city. Bristol is the sort of scale that’s big enough to be a place for creative excellence, but small enough that the people behind that excellence live on your street.
Can people shop online?
We have just opened our online shop and you can find it via our website www.jamaicastreetartists.co.uk