Art Map London launches search for free artist spaces in the city

It’s a common problem within the artistic community! You want to exhibit your work and get yourself out there but you can’t find the space and when you do, it’s often over-priced because there’s an issue with supply and demand.

The problem has been brought to life by curator and lecturer Matt Roberts who estimates that around 28,000 artists find themselves competing for a relationship with only around 2000 UK galleries. It’s a big difference which ultimately can only result in winners and losers. The big name safe bets are often looked after, reducing the opportunities further down the food chain for new and emerging talent.

Free Spaces launches on 30 January 2015 at Rolling Stock

Free Spaces launches on 30 January 2015 at Rolling Stock

And this is where Art Map London have once again come to the fore. Since a successfully funded Kickstarter campaign last year the platform and website on which Art Map is hosted has received a significant revamp. Evolving all the time as a resource for art lovers and artists now Art Map have launched a campaign to find ‘free spaces’ where artists can be hooked up with venues.

The launch on 30 January 2015 will see up to 15 free spaces identified around the city with the hope being that this will continue to be added to. Speaking on their blog Art Map said “London is filled with empty spaces. There are restaurants with rooms they do not use, there are hotels with empty bedrooms, there are town halls with massive auditoriums, there are empty commercial spaces in between rents, there are community gardens, there are city farms, there are skate parks. In other words London is filled with spaces that you can have for free to show your work.”

Jenny Judova and Kim have launched the Free Spaces initiative

Jenny Judova and Kim Judge have launched the Free Spaces initiative

One of those places, Rolling Stock on Kingsland Road, currently houses one of Shoreditch’s trendiest night-time venues. The free space in question is a white walled vestibule area in a space between the main bar and the outside patio garden. Showing me around the venue Art Map founder Jenny Judova told me “the space available here is more than most small galleries and it’s currently unused.”

The inaugural show there will be curated by Art Map’s Kim Judge and showcases a series of artists who had previously existed primarily outside of the gallery system. The likes of Asteronyme, WillKay, Endless and Pauli Bates are being joined by Art Map regular artists Lara Thomson and Gary Russell. It’s the sort of line-up which is unlikely to have gained much traction without the opportunity that the free space gives it and that is kind of the point.

It's a free space extravaganza at Art Map

It’s a free space extravaganza at Art Map

Ongoing the idea is to build up a database of venues with surplus spaces which could be used to host and exhibit artists. It’s a bit of a win/win all round with the venue gaining something nice to go on their walls and the artists gaining a unique opportunity to showcase their work with Art Map acting as a go between. With the challenges that artists often face in terms of getting exposure maybe this is just what the art scene really needs.

Inspiring City met up with Jenny Judova and Kim Judge from Art Map London to discuss Free Spaces at Rolling Stock on 15 January 2015. The launch will take place at the same venue on Friday 30 January 2015 from 6pm it will feature a presentation on the free spaces initiative as well as an exhibition curated by Kim Judge.

Free Spaces Artist Gallery

'Private View' by Lara Thomson

‘Private View’ by Lara Thomson

Bjork is a cat by Gary Russell

Bjork is a cat by Gary Russell

Ben Naz by Pauli Bates

Ben Naz by Pauli Bates

Will Kay from Will Kay Facebook page

Will Kay from Will Kay Facebook page

Endless street art featuring Kim Yong Un

Endless street art featuring Kim Yong Un

Brick Lane poster by Asteronyme taken from Pinterest

Brick Lane poster by Asteronyme taken from Pinterest