Studio Upstairs Bristol visits Expressions 2013

This morning a couple of the team and some members from the Bristol Studio visited the Expressions 2013 Festival at the Paintworks Event Space. Expressions is a yearly exhibition run by The Milestones Trust. This year’s Expressions is about ‘bringing the outside in’.

It is such a fun show! Weird and wonderful with a million things to look at. The entrance is very spring-like, with hundreds of hand crafted projects.

Then the visitors have to pick through  hanging images printed on material to get into the main show. Once into the main show the visitor is greeted by a felted Angel and busts of Elvis, The Queen, Gandalf and others (including a particularly unnerving owl-woman).

The show is split up into different parts for different projects and installations, most of them collaborative. There was an Afghan Box Camera, a project called ‘Bringing Yourself to the Table’ and a Secret Garden amongst other installations. It was a pleasure to look round such a lively and intriguing space. They also had a great cafe (lovely tea!).

Do go and have a look if you get a chance. Expressions 2013 is on until 21st April at Paintworks, Bristol. There is a full list of events and projects here.

Written by Megan Hoyle.


The much anticipated pain(t) exhibition opens tonight at ELECTRIC HOUSE, Willesden Green.

On offer are 19 incredible pieces of work that all draw their inspiration from the ideas of pain. Pain is a very real and difficult subject and one that everyone can relate to.

Curator’s choice: Gillian McCormicks triptych of a flying eagle carrying the artists heart in its claws is a powerful and darkly dramatic piece, we have all felt at some point that our heart has been stolen, and this piece captures that pain beautifully.

Not only do we have artworks on offer but Studio Upstairs is very pleased to announce their creative collaboration with sculptor Jane Clarke – the efforts of which will be on show next Wednesday 27th at 7pm.

Jane Clarke has created an eight seater see-saw – the ultimate executive toy! Which poses questions around stress and workplace pain.

The see-saw is being used by the Studio Upstairs performance group as an interactive prop!

Jane Clarke


Answers on a postcard please…

Studio Upstairs is delighted to announce we will be taking part in the RA POSTCARDS project organised by Galleri VOX, in Norway – both Studio’s are hard at work producing postcards for this unquie project that will unite ‘Outsider’ Artists from across Europe! For you own chance to be involved check out their website:


Lloyds TSB Foundation supports Studio Upstairs

Lloyds Foundation for England and Wales Offers Support to Studio Upstairs

Studio Upstairs has already seen funding raised to continue  it’s vital work towards improving the mental health of many local residents.

Following a successful fundraising campaign, the charity has put together a high quality programme of exhibitions and events including the recent October celebration of the World Mental Health Day at Gillett Square, Hackney.

Despite the challenging economic conditions, this month is no exception. The team is delighted to announce that Studio Upstairs London was awarded a two year grant of £40,000 by Lloyds TSB Foundation for England and Wales.

Zlatinka Hristova, Director of Studio Upstairs confirmed the importance of this support: “The grant will allow the organisation to successfully continue the unique arts community project, to enrich the lives of all who attend Studio Upstairs and to demonstrate their creativity to the wider public.”

The magic of a gallery

Sitting here in the serene surroundings of the Philadelphia Street gallery in Bristol, host to our current exhibition ‘Drawing Through // Line’, I am truly bowled over by the magic that is ‘a gallery’

Far removed from the down ‘n’ dirty environment that is Studio Upstairs Bristol, a working artists studio in an industrial unit near the harbourside, Philadelphia Street is a bona fide, shiny commercial gallery in the heart of Cabot Circus; and its doing amazing things.

At Studio Upstairs we are quite used to experiencing the gravitas  given to piece of work by framing it, but in Philadelphia Street we are seeing something else happening to the work when it is hung in a commercial gallery…and I can only describe it as magic.

Glistening, slick and professional are the works of art on display here for the next week, but this is no surprise in itself. We know and are constantly championing what truly amazing work our members create. What is unexpected, having seen these pieces of work many times over the last weeks, first in portfolios, then in mounts, then framed and transported, is that they still have the power to wow me now that they are under the shining lights of a gallery space like Philadelphia Street.

Drawing Through // Line is on until 9th September at Philadelphia Street, Quakers Friars, Cabot Circus, Bristol BS1 3BZ

Daily 10am-7pm, Sunday 11-5pm

Exhibition countdown

Here at Studio Upstairs Bristol we are  gearing up for our next exhibition ‘Drawing Through // Line’. It’s all go today with flyers being delivered and Jack our guest curator coming in to start the selection for the show! Then it’s on to press releases and event listings…might have to sneak to Spike Island for a cheeky chocolate brownie after all that.

You may remember a while ago that we were overjoyed to receive Arts Council funding for the first time to run a year-long project. Well, this is the first exhibition from that project. ‘Drawing Through’ has so far seen us collaborate with artist Alice Jones, curator and Director of Antlers Gallery Jack Gibbon and local writer Cedar. Our members have been taking part in drawing workshops looking at different methods and materials for drawing, writing workshops exploring different writing techniques and life drawing classes, all of which will culminate in three shows.

All three exhibitions will look at the multitude of ways in which mark making can be viewed as drawing and the wide variety of ways in which drawing affects artistic practice and human emotion:

  • ‘Drawing Through // Line’ 4-9 September at Philadelphia Street, Bristol
  • ‘Drawing Through // Open’ 12-14 October at Studio Upstairs Bristol
  • ‘Drawing Through // Narrative’ 1-7 December at The Parlour Showrooms, College Green, Bristol

The preview for ‘Drawing Through // Line’ is on 4 September from 6-9pm  – everyone is welcome so spread the word and come and share what promises to be a special exhibition. We are also delighted that George Ferguson CBE, will be attending this event and introducing the exhibition as well, I am sure, as talking about the passion for Bristol that has led him to run for Mayor in this autumn’s elections.

Bobby Baker’s Daily Life…

The ever talent Bobby Baker has launched her new site which you can check out HERE.

Also keep your eyes out for Bobby’s diary sketches one of which she has kindly donated to our ONE IN FOUR auction later this summer!!

Tight Modern comes to Gillett Square

We are very please to annouce that we are working in partnership with Creative Futures to deliver this years Tight Modern….

The Tight Modern is a miniature replica of London’s iconic Tate Modern Gallery and showcases 50 disabled and marginalised artists in the world’s smallest temporary gallery.

Tight Modern is touring the country and touching down in Gillett Square in October as part of Hackney’s annual celebrations for World Mental Health Day Sunday 14th October.

If you are interested in submitting work please follow the link HERE

Its a little bit strange at Studio Upstairs Bristol

Normally at this time of the year we would be running around making last minute touches to our annual Open Studio Exhibition…but not this year.

This year thanks to some funding from Arts Council South West we are moving our annual show to the autumn as part of Drawing Through. If you follow us on Facebook and Twitter you will undoubtedly have heard about this already so forgive me if this is old hat:

Drawing Through is a project that sees Studio Upstairs Bristol collaborating with artist Alice Jones and curator Jack Gibbon of Antlers Gallery. It will culminate in three – yes that’s right THREE – shows later this year in venues throughout Bristol. Our annual Open Studio will of course remain at our Studio space in Bristol’s Harbourside but the other shows will be in town and high profile!

So if you are getting your walking boots ready to tackle the  behemoth that is Spike Island’s Open Studios then remember that this year we are not exhibiting. Instead we are planning and plotting our next show! Watch this space to find out more as we confirm dates and venues over the coming weeks.

Celebrating Studio Upstairs at The Royal Academy of Arts

On Friday 20th July 2012 we are delighted to be hosting an evening of celebration and a silent auction at the Royal Academy of Arts in London, to raise awareness that ONE IN FOUR adults in the UK suffers mental health problems at some time in their life. All proceeds raised will go towards supporting the work that we do in both London and Bristol.

We are now looking for artworks to be donated to the auction from the UK’s most promising artists of 2012, and that could be you!

Bristol based artist Anthony Garratt has already donated a piece to the auction alongside Rob Ryan  and Dan Baldwin.

Auction pieces  will be uploaded to the Studio Upstairs website for bidding to commence online from the 12th of July.

The event will be tied in with an evening at the Summer Exhibition, which is the Royal Academy’s busiest time of year. Artists work will be displayed in the Royal Academy, and of course its all for a good cause! Works will feature on the Studio Upstairs website, in the catalogue for the event and be exposed to art collectors.

You may submit 2D or 3D work. 2D work must be no bigger than 1m x 1m and 3D work no larger than 50cm squared.

Works selected to take part in the event will be notified by email and need to be delivered to Studio Upstairs London Unit E3, 3 Bradbury Street, London N16 8JN by MONDAY 25th JUNE.

Quartet Community Foundation support Studio Upstairs Bristol

Quartet Community Foundation supporting Studio Upstairs Bristol

This morning’s post has brought with it an offer of funding from Quartet Community Foundation and Sport relief Community Cash Grants Programme. The foundation who have supported our exhibitions in the past is now supporting Drawing Through, adding to the funds already secured from Arts Council England and The Tedworth Charitable Trust.

We are delighted that this project is shaping up so well! Watch this space for news about Drawing Through.

Artist and Curator announced for Arts Council Funded project

Bristol based charity Studio Upstairs has recently been awarded funding from Arts Council South West to stage a year-long arts project called Drawing Through. Today they announced that they have appointed local artist Alice Jones to work on the project alongside Jack Gibbon of Antlers Gallery in Bristol.

Studio Upstairs is an artist’s studio that supports adults suffering from mental health issues and those in drug and alcohol recovery. The Drawing Through project will involve Alice and Jack working alongside the 50 members who attend Studio Upstairs. Over the next few months Alice, Jack and the team at Studio Upstairs will arrange workshops, gallery visits and artist talks as well as encouraging the members to look at different ways to create art. The project will culminate in three exhibitions later this year, which will include work from the Studio’s life drawing class and writers group.

Alice Jones is an Artist and Illustrator specialising in pencil based drawing. In 2010 she received the Emerging Artist Award at The Royal West of England Academy autumn exhibition.  She studies the themes of people and landscape and is currently developing a new body of work. Of her appointment as lead artist for Drawing Through she said: ‘Studio Upstairs promotes a great place for members to express themselves creatively within a supportive community. It is a wonderful opportunity to be the Lead Artist of Studio Upstairs’ Drawing Through project in Bristol. I cannot wait to see what the members have been working on and sharing my own practice with them.’

Jack Gibbon, Director of Antlers Gallery in Bristol is going to be curating the three exhibitions later this year. “I am very excited to be working on ‘Drawing Through’ with Studio Upstairs and Alice Jones. You can tell straight away from Alice’s work that she has a deep understanding of drawing processes. I can imagine this will provide a great source of inspiration to the studio members.”

This is the first time that Studio Upstairs has received funding from the Arts Council and follows a year of intense fundraising under the leadership of Director Zlatinka Hristova who took over in February 2011. “This funding really goes to show the high quality of artwork that is produced at Studio Upstairs. We are very pleased to be able to run the project and showcase the great work of both our artists and of Alice Jones and Jack Gibbon. ”


2011 Bristol Open Studio Exhibition


Preview 29th April 6-8pm. Everyone welcome

30th April – 2nd May open daily from 11am – 5pm. Free Admission


Studio Upstairs, Units 1&2 Albion Dockside Estate, Hanover Place, Bristol, BS1 6UT


Studio Upstairs, a thriving artists’ community based in Bristol’s Harbourside, is opening its doors to the public this May Day Bank Holiday weekend. Now in it’s twelfth year this annual show promises to be bigger than ever. The exhibition presents a rich variety of work by fifty emerging and established artists, including media as diverse as painting, drawing, sculpture, music and creative writing.

Arranged in conjunction with the Spike Island Open Studios, this is the largest annual showcase of work by Studio artists and for many this is their first exhibition in a public gallery space. Most of the works on display are for sale making this a great opportunity to buy an original piece of artwork at an affordable price. The preview on 29th April is the first opportunity to see and buy the work and is open to everyone.

For Rachel Starkie an artist at Studio Upstairs this exhibition is an important opportunity to show her work “Being shown at the Open Studio Exhibition is a great chance for my work to be seen. Exhibiting in last year’s Exhibition gave me the confidence to take part in a show at The Grant Bradley Gallery with other Studio Upstairs artists earlier this year.”

Recent events organised by Studio Upstairs’ artists include ‘Breaking Through the Barrier’ at The Grant Bradley Gallery and a live musical accompaniment to a pedal powered screening of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis at the Cube Cinema.

This exhibition comes at a time of exciting change for Studio Upstairs after the appointment of new Director Zlatinka Hristova earlier this year. In spite of the continuing funding challenges that this small charity faces, the quality of the work created by Studio artists makes it a force to be reckoned with in the Bristol arts community.

As well as the exhibition, the weekend includes a musical improvisation session open to everyone on Saturday 30th April from 12-2pm and an afternoon of poetry, tea and cake on Sunday 1st May from 3-4pm. Admission to the exhibition and to all events throughout the weekend is free.