Footscray House

Footscray House SRS Studio

Where: Footscray House Supported Residential Service, 633 Barkly Street, West Footscray VIC 3012  

Lead Artist: Ara Dolatian
Support Artist: Isi Lumbuso

Above: Textas on paper and performance by Vince Guest

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This week, we dipped into the world of fairytales and popular stories. 

Artists selected a character or image they deeply resonated with and responded to this with works on paper.

Above: Untitled by Sonia Gowan

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Whilst Tanya and isi were gone, the Footscray House SRS Studio remained in swing. Previous to our break, the proprietor and artists made an arrangement to keep meeting on Fridays and continue their practice.

So it was little surprise to find the group of participating artists has grown!

We knuckled down and did some creative planning together.

Some group prospects:
- Rose-Linda to lead a tai chi session prior to art making
- Watch a film together
- Make a film
- Set up a studio library to enrich visual vocabulary in individual interest areas
- Connect with Footscray Arts Centre
- Have a group exhibition
- Music and movement session


Lead Artist: Tanya Arman
Support Artist: Erin Tappe and Isi Lumbuso

Footscray House SRS Studio works from the strength of a cohesive and supportive community of artists, who share a history between the walls of their residence in addition to flourishing, active lives within the greater community. 

There is a strong base of artists who drive a regular practice with the addition of numerous residents who join in for conversation and the occasional arts practice. The session crosses over with afternoon tea, which ensures a dialogue between the practicing artists and other residents, as well as the opportunity to share their work.

The atmosphere is friendly, positive and communicative, with many artists being able and willing to clearly express their desires.

This year's studio sessions started with a brain storming bang! The group devised a collaborative word collage placing words onto a large black paper mast to describe the practices they'd like to engage in. They then transformed this into a visual banner on a large swathe of fabric. These two items were repeatedly resourced when planning new pathways for group and individual practices.

The practice at Footscray House operates both as a pop-up studio and a workshop series. We often introduce a new practice following artists requests and assist in the continuation of artist's existing practices. 

Some of the highlights of this year's studio sessions have included:

- Whilst initially hesitant to engage the use of cameras, Vince took a particular shine to shooting individual human portraits and gained hard skills in filming, photography and lighting. 
- Mark, who prefers to converse socially with the group rather than engage in art making, unleashed a brilliant set on his guitar so that Vince could capture his talents on camera.
- Seeing artists grow richly in the development of their personal styles: Sarah building on her penchant for landscape painting and making works which are also tributes to loved ones; Sonia fearlessly mixing media, for example texta and watercolour paint on cotton strips; Rose-Linda creating moving landscapes with clay and watercolour paint; Binh developing from his love of action films into a prolific poster series; Enzo courageously exploring the use of acrylic paint, building layers of energetic brushstrokes on paper and wooden surfaces; and Vince placing his texta-based drawings of geometric forms on different backgrounds plus enthusiastically capturing the details of other artists' faces with a camera in full zoom. 
- Whilst house etiquette calls for respectful noise levels, the group emerged into a chorus of vocal song, including artists who often refrain from speech.
- Diana building a teddy bear out of clay for her nephew's birthday.
- Seeing Enzo and Binh grow significantly in their abilities to articulate creative desires.
- Sarah leading a workshop on printmaking, using foam prints on canvas carry bags.
- Printing on t-shirts 
- Participating in the Home Project, which led to a new curiosity in 3D formats. The group quickly took to designing on plates with permanent markers, embellishing socks and painting on planks of wood sourced from a local timber yard.
- A growing engagement with artists who have previously been hesitant to join the group. One example was Anthony who was inspired to collage using elements from the natural environment sourced from the backyard. Another example was Mary who eagerly embraced the bag-designing workshop, having 
not previously participated.
- The contribution into their works that the artists' rich and diverse lives bring. Their activities in the community include work, study, volunteering, cultural participation, family visits and regular food and social outings.  
- Stitching stories between Anthony's love of the band Kiss and Binh's zest for action films. Finding intersectional themes between their interests and workshopping possibilities for telling a collective story.
- Sonia creating a stop-animation film documenting her art making process with 
guest artist Melody.
- Reaching a point where resident artists were so self-driven that staff were able to paint side-by-side with them for nearly a full session. 
- Collaborating with residential staff to set up a plan for the group's art making practice over the holidays. Working together to make tools available to them so that they can continue their practice beyond the need of our presence.


In 2013 a six week intensive of weekly visual arts workshops was held at Footscray House SRS Studio as a way of introducing artistic possibilities and gleaming individual interests and aspirations. 

"The staff at Footscray House have commented on what an impact this art class has been in triggering a positive response from residents. They have told us how dramatic the harmonious behavioural changes have been, especially during the workshop time frames." Jade Burstall, Lead Artist 2013

2014 sees the continuation of fortnightly visual arts workshops aimed at supporting individual arts practices.

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