One of our first artists to move in spoke to us about his experience there.
Joseph Griffiths has been a Bow Arts member for a number of years, having had both a studio and Live/work flat with us on our previous schemes. Once the Low Cost Accommodation in Thamesmead project was announced, he visited the area and became increasingly interested in the possibilities for creatives to live, work and become involved with the community.
I find the area fascinating from a historical point of view as one of the UK's best preserved examples of mass Brutalist architecture. It is also interesting from a social point of view as a location and populace that was generated from a mass movement of people out of inner city London in the 1960's to solve the then housing shortage - an issue which is as relevant today as it was 5 decades ago.
Joseph has a multi-faceted practice which is wide-reaching both in terms of medium and concept. His main area of inquiry is around the idea of a ‘true object’. For example, one of his exhibitions which he presented at one of our Open Studios events was a series of works titled ‘ Cloud Images’ which looked at turning an intangible object (clouds) into a tangible one (photograph). He was also looking at the idea of clouds being simultaneously generic in subject matter yet individual through their ever-changing nature. The images were installed flush to the wall, where it was almost impossible to tell where the wall paint ended and where the photo began- or even if the entire wall was a large print.
Through a focussed resourcefulness, an ordering and a process of reduction in my approach to working - I am always interested to question where the defining gesture or action in a given piece of work is located. I question at what point of reduction a given gesture or action ceases to have any tangible value or to exist at all. This is demonstrated in “I AM STILL HERE” (2017), a site specific installation created to mark the decant of my home and live/work space.
It is easy to see that Joseph’s practice is not necessarily commercial in nature but extremely exploratory, which is one of the reasons we allocated a flat to him as we realised he could develop his practice more intensely with reduced outgoings in rent.
Having affordable accommodation and studio space is essential for my medium term intellectual and professional development. I can’t wait to be able to walk to my studio, I won’t even have to cross a road!
Creative practitioners are notoriously resourceful, and in today’s climate in London, they also have to be resilient. Juggling time, space and money is the biggest challenge for anyone working creatively at the moment which is why Bow Arts and Peabody have come together in partnership to put this scheme in place. The Lakeside Centre will house an early years learning centre and a community café along with 40 studio workspaces. Artists, makers, and designers have contributed generously to community groups and events in our past Live/work schemes and we are hoping to put an infrastructure in place in Thamesmead which will allow not only these ideas to flourish but to also be inclusive of all locals who are within the area already.
Joseph moved in one month ago and has already repainted and decorated his flat in order for it to be a peaceful space for him to make his home.
If you are interested in applying for affordable accommodation in Thamesmead please make sure you are registered with us via our website. Our property team will be able to answer any questions you might have at a viewing, which take place weekly – however you do have to be registered first!
Bow Arts is committed to supporting communities and artists, offering affordable, top-notch creative workspaces at 12 sites across London to help creatives to thrive and grow their practices. If you’re an artist, designer or maker who’s interested in our studios, find out more and apply here!