Interview with Studio Alfresco !
We were recently taken around by the Alumni from Chelsea College of Art to see, the coolest Art Hubs, Gallery’s and Studios in London. Once introduced to STUDIO ALFRESCO I was immediately captured by Lizzie’s energy and ENTHUSIASM. I spent the afternoon @STUDIOALFRESCO with Lizzie and she agreed to do an interview with me … introducing ELIZABETH PRENTIS AKA STUDIO ALFRESCO !
Please tell me about studio alfresco what do you do and how can Artists get involved?
I started Studio Alfresco because I didn’t have a studio and the studio’s I had in the past didn’t work well for me. So I decided to just use my garden. Problem Solved. However, having no one to talk to, meant I was getting really stuck in my ideas and getting really frustrated with my practice.
What I realised was everyone’s feeling the same. Feeling a bit shit and putting a lot of pressure on themselves to be super prolific, whilst juggling multiple jobs and trying to Find & Fund space/projects.
So I started inviting artists to come and hang out with me in my garden to make something and have a chat. Studio Alfresco dates are one day collaborations to talk, play, make, experiment & collaborate WITHOUT the pressures and expectations of your own practice.
I noticed using my garden to do these collaborations created a relaxed atmosphere to make work in, as it wasn’t an ‘Art Space.’ This environment and way of working removed a lot of the bullshit that can be said when you start chatting about your practice in an Art space (institution or private view somewhere) through nerves / feeling insecure about the work you are making.
A studio alfresco date doesn’t have to result in something physical, it can be a chat , conversation about general life or work. Its about keeping an Art Community bubbling away in a relaxed way: through talking, collaborating, sharing and making. Working with new people, swapping ideas and exchanging skills. Its really important to me that Studio Alfresco dates are fun, playful and non restrictive- anything goes.
Anyone who wants to come for a Studio Alfresco Date, can just direct message me on Instagram @lizziestudioalfresco and we will make it happen!
What are you working on at the moment ?
I try to have quite a few projects or ideas on the go at the same time too keep myself interested and excited. I work quickly and intuitively, and can get bored very quickly – so I find it helpful to have multiple things to play around with.
At the moment I’m interested in making wearable sculpture. One project I am working on at the moment, is wearable dinosaur sculpture. I like to have something ‘silly’ on the go to keep ideas , experiments and material play fresh. These ‘silly projects’ might evolve into something more considered, but its important to be working on projects that link to my practice , but which i don’t feel too precious about. This creates space for material experimentation, exploring new process and trying out ideas that can live separate or in parallel to my practice…
I’m working on some performance experiments- translating paintings I did last summer into performances. Incorporating painting is something totally new for me, i hadn’t done a painting since high school until last year when i thought ‘fuck it i’ll have a go at a painting, why not?.’ Working from a painting and developing it into performance is a very new way of working for me, so I’m excited to explore that and see where it goes.
Tell me the craziest thing you have done to produce a work ?
I’m not sure, but my performance work is never rehearsed or practiced before the show. So when I perform, I have some idea of what will happen, but sometimes the material/process will result in a more extreme outcome than i am expecting – reacting to this live, is a big part of my performance practice.
I got in the most trouble for a performance called ‘Banshee Bounce.’ Where I installed a 9ft trampoline in a Crypt, covered with 25kg of Talcum Powder. The idea was to jump on the trampoline and turn the audience into ghosts. I was asked to reduce the amount by Health & Safety but I refused, on the grounds of it being a material experiment and the performance required that much for a reason…
It turned out that 25kg was a considerable amount of talcum powder and the whole space was engulfed. No one could see or breath as the talcum powder formed a mushroom cloud and travelled through he whole space forcing everyone to evacuate the space for actual health and safety risks.
Whats the best thing about being an Artist ?
Free booze at private views?
I don’t know. I think if you were a relatively sane person you wouldn’t choose to be an Artist. Its really bloody hard work. Its much easier to go and have normal hours, in a normal job like an Accountant or something. The best thing about Artists is whatever it is that keeps us practicing. Maybe its stubbornness, bloody mindedness? Theres an attitude of determination, ambition and ‘ill find a way to make it work’ amongst my peers which is think is the best thing.
What projects / exhibitions do you have coming up ?
Have a Solo Show coming up in August at Lungley Gallery, which is really exciting.
A group show BAGGAGE on April 6th @ Take Courage Gallery, New Cross.
Showing with Lauren Pennycott, Connie Harrison and Flora Duley. This show has evolved through Studio Alfresco dates with all of these artists. Pennycott and I also showed at A.P.T Gallery last year which was a collaboration which grew from a Studio Alfresco.
I have a few more projects on the cards which I am trying to finalise, including curating a series of carpark shows called ‘Doggin n Donuts’ and a collaborative project in Germany later in the year with virtuellestheatre.