20 artists face eviction from their studios after building goes into receivership

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Around 20 artists are at risk of being evicted from their studios in Dublin after the building where they work went into receivership.

The artists said there were no other studios for rent in the city and warned that this signaled the death of marginal artists in the capital.

They had two weeks to leave Richmond Road Studios in Fairview, which has hosted some 150 artists over the past 20 years.

It is an independent, unfunded studio, paid for by the artists, who work in sculpture, painting, fine art and fashion design.

(L to R) Artists Louise Butler, Holly O’Brien, Sophie Behal and James Kirwan are among those facing eviction from Dublin’s Richmond Road studios (Brian Lawless/PA)

Sophie Behal, who has been based at the studio for six years, said the artists received a letter from receivers, Kroll, saying they had two weeks to vacate the property.

“We didn’t know until an usher came here and got the keys,” she said.

“There were two studio members inside and the man said he was from the bank and he was there to change the locks, saying he now owned the property, and he had no no idea we were here.

“We have not been able to contact the owner. There was no communication with us.

Holly O’Brien, an artist from Co Galway, has been using the space to create her work for eight years.

She said the rent has remained affordable over the past 20 years, which has allowed them to continue using the studios.

“There are other studios in Dublin but the rent is so high and it’s impossible for us,” she added.

“We don’t know our fate or what happened.

Artist James Kirwan, from Wexford, in his studio at Richmond Road Studios in Dublin (Brian Lawless/PA)

“The receivers asked for proof within seven days of a reason why we shouldn’t be evicted, so we sent them bank statements and other documents.

“We were just waiting for their response and today (Thursday) was the day they were supposed to kick us out.”

Ms Behal said she asked the receivers for an additional six months.

“It’s impossible to do work in such a feeling of uncertainty. To do work as an artist, you need space, but you don’t know what’s going to happen there,” she added.

“If I don’t have space to do work that stops because I need space to be able to do messy sculptures and do things that don’t work and do things that are ridiculous, things you’re not going to do in your bedroom or your kitchen.

“You need space to play and experiment. With nowhere to go, that’s all.

“Making physical art in Dublin, there is no future.”

Ms O’Brien said: ‘We do sculpture and heavy work, so you need a studio, not only to do the work, but also to store the work and your materials.

“A studio isn’t just a space, it’s a collection of like-minded artists and the community is huge to keep you going because being an artist is so hard.

“I might have to go to England or Scotland.”

Ms Behal added: “Dublin will become a city of monoculture. It’s going to become a really bland city and no one will want to live there and eventually no one will want to visit it.

“A marginal culture feeds the main culture, and there will be nothing to feed it and it will die out.”

Painter Louise Butler, from Dublin, has worked in the studios for four years.

She told the PA news agency that she will not be able to work until another space is found.

Holly O’Brien said she needed space to create sculptures and large works of art (Brian Lawless/PA)

“I’m going to have to put everything away. I may have to work on the computer for a while. I like to do big paintings but I can’t do it from home,” Ms Butler added.

The painter James Kirwan is also at risk of being expelled from the studios.

“You can’t work under this stress, you need space to work,” he said.

“I tried working from a small office, and it didn’t work. It’s a different energy here.

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