In her previous article Fine Art graduate Katherine Barnett shared her experiences of finding studio space. These are some of her top tips:
Taking on a studio is a big commitment. However, my top tips are pretty much common sense.
1. Ask yourself, “Do you really need a studio?” What are the alternatives? How have you managed previously? What’s changed? As an undergraduate, I had my own studio space at university. When I left, I had no spare room at home and needed somewhere to work on my art.
2. People say you should decide what you’re looking for before you begin your search. This is really difficult because there are so many options available. For me, I set myself 2 important conditions: I knew i) my financial limits, and ii) that the space had to be accessible. I had a fair idea of how small would be too small but anything else was flexible.
3. Give yourself plenty of time to look around. The earlier you start looking for a studio, the better.
4. Get a second opinion. It’s understandable how you’d get all caught up in the romance of your own studio space, but a cynical friend will be more tuned in to the fact it might have a damp problem or overlooks the local abattoir!
5. For me, information about my eventual studio space came from a contact. Ask around, e.g. your tutors, on social media, other graduates and artists you might know. The internet is an obvious place to start looking but, in my experience, word of mouth was much more effective.
6. Beware of other costs. Some options required membership fees, service charges or expensive car parking fees/ permits. The cost of travel also proved prohibitive for some of the studio locations that I was considering.
7. Read the small print. Terms and conditions can be really tedious to go through but it’s important. I am not allowed to use my studio as a business address. Other things to look for include the hours you can access the building, length of contract you’d be signing up for, how much notice you need to give before leaving, and any fee you’d have to pay if you quit early.
8. Lastly, ‘shy bairns get nowt’. Make the most of available advice to find out about funding, business options, etc. Unfortunately, this wasn’t applicable to me but I know, for other artists, it’s been invaluable in getting started. If you’re graduating, your university careers and employability service is probably a good place to start.