WASPS Artists Studios

WASPS Artists Studios

Wasps Artists Studios was more or less unknown to me until 1999. Before I had a studio at WASPS I knew all about it as I was involved in interior design and one of the companies who produced the visuals for the new design at Hanson Street in Glasgow showed me his work. It looked a great place to be.

I first moved into a studio share in 2005. What many people don’t realise is that WASPS is a charity. Statistics show that 8 out of 10 artists earn less than 5k per year. That may sound unbelievable but it is true. I was one once when I first started painting and I know several artist’s who are in this situation.

It’s easy to be critical and tell such people to “get a real job” but an individual’s reasons for staying in a low paid career can be many. There are those who have health problems but paint rather than sit at home watching Richard and Judy and there are people who may take a whole year to produce two exquisite paintings. They may sell their art for 4K each but after gallery fees, they may still only be left with 4K. Is this worth it? I would say so, where would the world be without people like this?

Talking to artists at WASPS over the past few years, it is amazing how often we are asked to donate a piece of art to various charities.I have been asked several times and I have always been in a position to say “yes” so far but isn’t it odd that some of the poorest workers in society are asked to donate things that take many days of work? People in other professions don’t seem to be asked this so readily. I know of some artists who just have to decline : if you come across one of them, please be understanding.

Hanson Street Studios

On my first day at WASPS Artists Studios, I was not in great health and it was a return to work and a complete change of career, I had, almost literally been lying in bed for nearly 2 years and this was my attempt to make something of my life. It was a shock as I entered a gloomy , empty building. There was no-one about until I reached the corridor where I saw a solitary figure. My “good morning” was ignored and the artist hurried by with his head down.

New Career

On unlocking the studio door, I entered the small space and looked at the desk, which could easily be 60 years old. It was raining hard against the window and I felt a sense of gloom. What happened to all the people I had worked with only a few years before? What happened to the chat, the deadlines and the busy-ness? Where was my state of the art Herman Miller desk and thousand pound Herman Miller ergonomically designed chair that I was used to in my previous career?

If this sounds dramatic, it was. I hated WASPS Artists Studios initially and I wanted to leave.

Perseverance saw me paint when I could and over the weeks and months, things began to change. Online art sales picked up, my painting improved and I was accepted into galleries. The results of the past 3 or so years can be seen on this website. I think WASPS Artists Studios has changed in the past few years. A core of newer artists are a more sociable and the spaces are being let to outside parties with student exhibitions and various events which did not seem to be taking place even just a few years ago. We have also set up a new collective, called Parade Artists and there are exciting things afoot.

The highlight of the WASPS year is the Open Studios event, when participating artists allow the public in to look around. To be honest, I allow art lovers into my studio whenever they want but to have people en mass is fantastic. Feedback for an artist, I believe is invaluable. It is a fantastic event and a great opportunity to see artists in their natural habitat.

It sure beats painting at the kitchen table.