Amie Batalibasi is a documentary filmmaker and Footscray resident. She’s taken over 226 Nicholson St. (formerly a tattoo parlour) and turned it into an art space. Colour Box Studio launched earlier this month and is currently operating as a pop up shop.
Why did you choose Footscray as the home for Colour Box Studio?
It had to be in Footscray. I love Footscray. I’ve lived in Footscray for six years and I’ve always said that I couldn’t live in Melbourne if Footscray wasn’t here. It’s a place of such diversity and excitement and that feeling of community that you get when you walk down the street. Footscray is a changing place and the timing is just right I think – it’s kind of just before the big developments go up. This place is going to be apartments. It’s just this critical time where there’s this space for creativity and for people to use spaces that maybe wouldn’t get used. We’re only here for 12 months. We have the option of doing whatever we want to the building because it’s going to be knocked down. There’s a real need for this space, and there are so many creative people in Footscray.
What is the concept behind Colour Box Studio?
Colour Box Studio is a multi-functional pop up creative space. When I saw this place I saw the potential to do so many different things and I knew that I had such a diverse community of artists around me. I had to think about what we can do in this space to service all of those people. Every month it will change and be a new art form or showcase different artists. At the moment it’s a pop up shop and next month we’re doing new media. The possibilities are limitless.
What would you say to artists considering Footscray as their HQ?
It’s an inspiring environment to be in as an artist. There are so many other artists, and the cultural diversity is inspiring. My actual day job is [working] as a documentary filmmaker so inspiration for a lot of my projects and films has come from Footscray. It’s a place that is rich in stories, culture and history so it doesn’t really matter what medium you practise as an artist – Footscray can be inspiring in a lot of ways.
Are you looking for people to get involved with Colour Box Studio?
We’ve got a volunteer program that we are developing. You can apply for it online. What we’re going to do is match people up with their passion to give them real life experience in an art space doing what they want to do. The other opportunity is that we will be asking for proposals. Every month when our program changes we’ll put a call out for artwork and project ideas around that. The idea is to give artists a space to create work, to showcase their work and get some money. We know that artists struggle at various times of their lives – this setup is so that people can have a bit of income coming in as well. Lots of opportunities so stay tuned.