A space behind an adventure travel agent, once a campervan display room, found via Gumtree and named with the help of a random word generator... Mint Artist Studios had unusual beginnings.
Adelaide artists Jenna Pippett, Kate Kurucz and Sam Trevaskis graduated from Adelaide Central School of Art with Bachelors of Visual Arts (Honours) in 2012. In their final year, they had their own space at the ACSA studios and it’s this that has influenced how they plan to run Mint.
“The sense of community from our time at uni was something that we really wanted to recreate,” says Jenna.
The three looked into acquiring spaces at pre-existing artist studio hubs, but didn’t quite find what they were looking for.
“Adelaide has some brilliant artist studios but certainly not enough to meet demand so we felt that it would be a really positive move to create spaces for other artists whilst also fulfilling our own need,” continues Jenna.
Advice from Brigid Noone of Fontanelle Gallery and Studio lead them to search beyond the established studio spaces on offer. “She encouraged us to look in unexpected places and to pursue a bit of word of mouth as commercial leases can be quite expensive and often not open to the idea of artists working in the space.”
While some of Adelaide’s larger artist studios are having difficulty keeping as active as they want, it hasn’t been an issue for Mint.
“At the moment the space is very active, which is important to us - one of the most valuable things about a shared studio is having the opportunity to bounce ideas off of one another, share experience and offer support,” says Kate.
It’s this sense of community that allows them to spur each other on. “It's great having a smaller group because it means we can be a bit more collaborative and less formal,” says Kate.
Right now, there are six artists at Mint; the three cofounders along with Mady Stentiford, Jenni Mclaughlin and Jelena Vujnovic. The majority of their work is canvas-based, which suits the space perfectly with the amount of natural light and expansive walls to play with, though a few are also working on small sculpture and with digital medias. And, even with the studio’s impending launch, they have various gallery shows to preparing for.
Currently furnished with patterned couches, a chair of Egyptian-inspired tapestry, and a rescued wheelchair, the studio is rapidly taking form. In preparation for launch night, Kate and Jenna had the somewhat dreaded task of cleaning up the alley outside. But now, with the rat carcass and remnants from The Depot’s Colourpalooza having been cleared away, fond memories are forming.
“One of the things I think I'll remember most is just seeing the studios slowly fill up with people's stuff and walking in to see someone working there for the first time; I was surprised by how proud it made me feel,” said Kate.
Though everything is still settling down at the studio, they have the future firmly in mind. Waymouth Street will remain home for Mint over the next 12 months, but hopes of a larger studio to accommodate broader artistic practices and expansion to include a gallery space may mean a change of location sometime in the future.
“We just want to keep going really, it's been amazing so far,” says Kate.
“We see Mint as an opportunity to establish ourselves not only as artists but as people that contribute to the Adelaide art community in a broader sense.
Mint Artist Studios
119 Waymouth St, enter off Eliza Street
Launch night Saturday, April 27, 8pm