Lucy Stevens & StudionAme
On the enormous, bright blue front door of artist space StudionAme are the tiny, hand-written words ‘You are beautiful’. I wonder what the big ‘A’ in StudionAme might stand for. Maybe ‘artist’?
When the door swings open, I step inside and what I find is treasure.
Lucy Stevens is an artist based at StudionAme and invited me to this part of old, industrial Leicester off the back of an email I’d sent out. These streets would once have been the heartbeat of local manufacture.
Lucy gave me the tour. On the ground floor, I met a beautiful, cracked, tiled entrance hall and a man called Kevin, who makes incredible sculptures out of scrap metal. There’s also a communal space where you can go and eat your sandwich, or turn up on a Saturday for a free art club for kids.
Climb a rickety staircase and you enter a maze of whitewashed dividing walls with light pouring in through windows in walls and ceilings. On the second floor is Lucy’s space and at the moment she’s getting ready for a solo show at LCB Depot; ‘Bird Skins’, which runs from May 29th to June 12th 2019.
Lucy’s work is inspired by drawing wildlife sounds with beautiful marks and huge, colourful, bold strokes and shapes. The colour and marks are still there, but this exhibition is an exploration of the natural history collection at Leicester Museum in collaboration with multimedia artist Bill Newsinger. It’s slightly different to her other work.
“I’m not quite sure if these are finished yet...” Lucy ponders, standing back to look at an upside-down bird. Her desk is lined with pictures of birds and some framed interpretations of the sounds they make. There are brushes, scissors, pencils and all kinds of bits and bobs she picked up in B & Q, thinking they might make a useful mark.
We chat about what it would be like to be an artist full-time (Lucy works four days a week in marketing) and the progress and work of the other artists in the building. She tells me how generous everyone is, sharing ideas and materials and that “there’s pretty much always someone in you can have a chat with.”
Lucy’s right. Somewhere around a corner where I can’t see there’s the dim noise of a radio. We follow the sound to discover Studio Manager, Jonjo Elliott, painting huge sheets of paper in vibrant colours against walls spattered with paint. He’s got a solo show coming up in Hollywood.
We stop for a natter and take a few snaps. It feels like this community is absolutely thriving.
So, who could have known? That just off the roundabout where Humberstone Road meets St Matthews Way, there are a group of people bringing art clubs to the kids on their door step, exploring the natural world, recycling metal into beauty and taking Leicester all the way to Hollywood. It was an eye-opening couple of hours and left me impressed, inspired and grateful that I get to meet the people that I do. Next time, I promise I’ll remember the cake : )
Don’t miss Lucy’s show! From 29th May to 12th June at LCB Depot, Rutland Street, Leicester.
And if you’re a maker, creative business owner or artist anywhere in the Midlands and fancy a visitor who’d love to write about what you do, just sign up to my mini mag here to be the first to know when I’m out and about.