Somehow this post was written back in December 2016, and got lost in drafts. So apologies that it’s a bit out of date …
Meet the artist
Happenstance, synchronicity, serendipity … it’s a wondrous thing! An international tour operator who stayed as a guest at Liz at Lancaster saw my background as an art historian and asked if I would be interested in running small tailor made art tours. I said an excited ‘yes – in principle’. One of the aspects that he told me there was a demand for was to meet different artists and visit their studios as well as to meet up-and-coming artists and see their work.
Piece has relocated
A few days later I asked my always-up-for-exploring- friend if he wanted to go to the new home of Piece the amazing craft and design store run by the inimitable Eugenie Drakes. It has recently relocated from Rosebank to Ellis House, a restored building in a still quite undiscovered part of New Doornfontein. Piece was very much in the moving stage when we visited but is now fully set up and ready for business. See 2 Summers great post with, as always, her fabulous pics.
You have to be quite determined to find a way of accessing Ellis House. If the guard is not outside, it seems almost impenetrable! And with Piece being on the 5th floor, it is even more inaccessible. Don’t expect reception, sign posting and easy navigation in this building!
Art Eye – fabulous events space
After Piece we moved on to Art Eye across the passage. What an amazing discovery. Previously located in Design Quarter Fourways (not my stamping ground so I had never heard of it), it comprises a whole lot of amazing spaces.We entered into a huge room which is used for events, functions, exhibitions, etc. Down the centre is a long table with stunning hanging lamps along its length. There is a counter overlooking eastern Joburg, a new coffee bar and a quirky stylish sitting area. Great for functions and events.
This is all the brainchild of Tyrone Selmon who envisions a welcoming informal space where artists and creatives can meet and hang out and most importantly where up-and-coming artists who have not yet made their name can be given exposure and a voice.
Art Eye: exhibition spaces, studios, living spaces
The LaunchPad – gallery space Source:Liz at Lancaster Guesthouse
There is a quiet contemplative space called the Launchpad which is a darkened room with movable screens. It is here that exhibitions are held. When we were there John Vlismas’ (yes of comedian fame) and Julia Frier’s joint exhibition was due to open that evening. It was quite anarchical with these two artists who are also friends interacting in quite physical ways with each other’s work – making actual changes, additions and alterations. I guess you either have to be good friends for this to happen or seriously follow Roland Barthes’ notion of the ‘death of the author’.
Meet the artists
The Studio is a beautiful space used for artist’s collaborations as well as an exhibition space. Interns have adjacent living quarters so do not have to worry about transport and getting to their work and are able to have meals in their living space.
Established and new names
Although the primary intention is to give still unknown artists a place to work, interact and exchange ideas as well as a venue to exhibit, there are also better known artists’ works which hang on the walls eg Penny Siopis, Colbert Mashile, Trevor Coleman, Diane Victor among others.
So back to where I started. What an amazing place to visit for international visitors who are particularly interested in different creative spaces, up-and-coming artists and the chance to engage with artists at work. As I said – I love serendipity.