The area my studio is located in, Kelham Island, is a rapidly changing place. When I got to Sheffield in 1990 it was a decayed landscape; half derelict factories, some still housing light industry, set among the wasteland of it’s industrial past. Nobody lived there, after sundown it’s main visitors were the kerb crawlers and their targets, and the drug addicts seeking a space were they could be undisturbed and (relatively) safe. It wasn’t radically different in 2012 when I joined Kelham Island Arts Collective. There were some new build flats, a trendy cafe and a posh restaurant had replaced one of the greasy spoons, but it was still possible to take low rent spaces in one of the many crumbling factories, an ideal (and perhaps typical) location for artists.

Fast forward 7 years and though the surface looks the same behind the facades much has changed. A plethora of housing development has meant a large resident population, and there is a strong sense of community emerging. Much of the development pays at least lip service to the visual identity of the area’s history. New businesses emerging these days are micro-breweries, craft bakeries and the like, and sympathetic zoning by the local authority means less pressure for change of use, protecting the existing light industries. Day and night the Island is much more vibrant, pubs, cafes, restaurants and wine bars abound, and post sundown the visitors much more wholesome (if no quieter). Indeed, the area has recently won an Urban Renewal Award. Let’s be clear – this is not gentrification. No one lived here,  there has been no clearance, either of industry or residents. As an artist it’s a great place to be, and in painting Nightlife, I pay homage to the intelligent redevelopment of brownfield sites.




6 thoughts on “Nightlife

    1. Thankyou Ananya, much appreciated. I see you work with a painting knife sometimes, and I liked your first oil painting :). All of my work is done by knife, a fascinating tool, very versatile, and amazing what can be done with it.

      1. Yeah. Painting knife is fun to use. I can see your effort and interest in your works..Well, thank you very much!!

        It’s my pleasure. Nice to meet you! ☺

  1. This reminds very much of the area I used to live in while in the city of Johannesburg. I suppose these spaces are similar all over the world – until the developers catch on to what artists have been doing!

    1. Indeed, I’m holding on to the hope that our ramshackle studio/gallery complex will stay simply because zoning regulations make it unrealistic to develop the site 🙂 We’ll find out over the next 3 years.

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