Life as an artist is a rewarding but challenging pursuit. It can be isolating and notoriously hard to make a buck. The Colour Box Studio is a grass roots enterprise that offers support and opportunities for artists to earn an income from their work.
When photographer and filmmaker Amie Batalibasi came across the old tattoo parlour on Nicholson Street, she knew she’d found the perfect space to try out her idea for an experimental arts hub. Her vision was to set up a centre where artists and other creative types could gather to share ideas and collaborate together, rather than be competitors. With help from an army of volunteers, Amie opened the studio late last year. She said there was a steep learning curve.
“There were so many failures along the way. Learning and stumbling the whole way. Everything we’ve done is for the first time. We give anything a go,” said Amie.
Amie explained that artists often struggle for income, and struggle to market themselves. The studio offers a network of support and a place to exhibit work. “Thousands of dollars have gone out the door and into the pockets of artists,” said Amie.
With its non-profit model, artists are able to work together to experiment with income generating schemes. For their debut venture, the studio became a local and ethical pop-up shop in time for Christmas. Other incarnations include sustainable fashion store and pop-up fashion show, digital media gallery, and writing workshop space.
Along with providing a platform for artists and creative people to showcase their work, Colour Box Studio provides an affordable space for artists to sell their work. But to be sustainable and keep costs low, the studio needs funding. “I’m really hoping to get funding in non-traditional ways, like crowd funding, sponsorship and partnerships with people and organisations,” said Amie.
Colour Box Studio will need a new home when redevelopment of their current building goes ahead (part of the old Belgravia Hotel), but Amie said she is committed to staying in Footscray. “There is an exciting creative buzz in Footscray at the moment.”