On a short stretch of George Street, Thebarton, there is a movement emerging that the locals affectionately call Thebartonia, a creative and social neighbourhood encompassing The Wheatsheaf Hotel, The Deli, Mister Sunshine’s and the workspace/studio George Street Studios.
Nestled behind a modest industrial facade, George Street Studios is home to six of South Australia’s most renowned and award-winning public art practitioners and designer makers.
Established almost 20 years ago, it is where sculptor Tony Rosella creates his elegant public art works from metal, stone and timber, and Martin Murray, specialising in design, fabrication and CAD has a fascination with new technologies. It is where designer maker Lex Stobie produces his Danish-inspired timber furniture pieces, and visual artist Astra Parker creates her remarkable organic sculptures crafted from steel. It is also where Gregg Mitchell and Greg Healey, known for their quirky and bold urban projects, work together as Groundplay and independently as designer makers.
There is a rich sense of generosity and camaraderie amongst these practitioners, who often work on each other’s projects. As Lex Stobie explains, “It enables us as individuals to be ambitious; we can take on largescale projects as there is support from other members of the studio.”
Tony Rosella adds, “Because we have the facilities and infrastructure we can prototype, refine and develop. We have that ability as makers to control the outcome and develop our practice.”
For Martin Murray, the role of George Street Studios to the broader sector is significant. “The workshop plays a mentoring role to young artists and we continue to be involved with organisations like JamFactory and Carclew,” he says. Greg Healey notes, “We engage with other practitioners and also employ local makers and artists on our projects.”
If there are challenges for George Street Studios, it is the emergence of other formidable design studios. “The design sector is healthier than it’s ever been, it’s more competitive with more makers out there, but we are known for our professionalism and strong connections with our clients”, remarks Gregg Mitchell.
Astra Parker is also confident that George Street Studios maintains a creative edge. “As a group we have a sophisticated understanding of art and design and individually we have recognisable aesthetics, there is a sense of good design and good art continually coming out of George Street Studios.”
George Street Studios is a part of the Well Made community and featured on the platform. Well Made is an initiative of Guildhouse.
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Header image: George Street Studios. (Photo:Grant Hancock)