20 artists face eviction from studios after building goes into receivership

The group have been given two weeks to leave the Richmond Road Studios in Fairview, Dublin.
20 artists face eviction from studios after building goes into receivership

By Cate McCurry, PA

Around 20 artists face eviction from their studios in Dublin after the building where they work went into receivership.

The artists said there are no other studio spaces to rent in the city, and warned that it signals the death of fringe artists in the capital.

They have been given two weeks to leave the Richmond Road Studios in Fairview, which has been home to some 150 artists over the last 20 years.

It is an independent, unfunded studio paid for by the artists, who work in sculpture, painting, fine art and fashion design.

Dublin based artists facing eviction
(L to R) Artists Louise Butler, Holly O’Brien, Sophie Behal and James Kirwan are among those facing eviction from the Richmond Road Studios in Dublin (Brian Lawless/PA)

Sophie Behal, who has been based at the studio for six years, said the artists were sent a letter from the receivers, Kroll, which stated they had two weeks to leave the property.

“We didn’t know anything about it until a bailiff arrived here and had the keys,” she said.

“There were two studio members inside and the man said he was from the bank and was there to change the locks, saying he now owned the property, and he had no idea that we were here.

“We haven’t been able to get in contact with the landlord. There has been no communication with us.”

Holly O’Brien, an artist from Co Galway, has been using the space to create her work for eight years.

She said the rent has remained affordable over the last 20 years, which allowed them to continue using the studios.

“There are some other studios in Dublin but the rent is so high and makes it impossible for us,” she added.

“We don’t know our fate or know what was happening.

Dublin based artists facing eviction
Artist James Kirwan, from Wexford, in his studio at Richmond Road Studios in Dublin (Brian Lawless/PA)

“The receivers asked for proof within seven days of a reason why we shouldn’t be evicted, so we sent them bank statements and other documents.

“We have just been waiting for their response and today (Thursday) was the day they were supposed to evict us.”

Ms Behal said they have asked the receivers for an additional six months.

“It’s impossible to make work in such feeling of uncertainty. To make work as an artist, you need space, but we don’t know what is going to happen there,” she added.

“If I don’t have space to make work that stops because I need the space to be able to make messy sculptures and to make things that don’t work out and to make things that are ridiculous, things that you’re not going to make in your bedroom or your kitchen.

“You need space to play and experiment. Without anywhere to go, that’s it.

“Making physical artwork in Dublin, there is no future.”

 

Ms O’Brien said: “We make sculptures and large work, so you need a studio, to not just make the work but store work and your materials.

“A studio isn’t just a space, it’s a collection of like-minded artists and the community is huge to keep you going because being an artist is so challenging.

“I may have to go to England or Scotland.”

Ms Behal added: “Dublin will become a city of monoculture. It’s going to become a city that is really bland and nobody will want to live in and eventually nobody will want to visit.

“A fringe culture feeds the main culture, and there is going to be nothing to feed it and it will die out.”

Painter Louise Butler, from Dublin, has been working in the studios for four years.

She told the PA news agency she will not be able to work until an alternative space is found.

Dublin based artists facing eviction
Holly O’Brien said she needs space to create sculptures and large pieces of art (Brian Lawless/PA)

“I’ll have to store everything up. I may have to work on the computer for a while. I like to do big paintings but I can’t do that from home,” Ms Butler added.

Painter James Kirwan also faces eviction from the studios.

“You can’t work under this stress, you need the headspace to do work,” he said.

“I have tried working from a little desk, and it just didn’t work. It’s a different energy here.”

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