Thursday 23 April 2009
Big Orange Studio collective
Talk from Andy Pavitt 22/04/-9
Andrew Pavitt came to talk to us about the Big Orange Studio collective in Shoreditch, London. Big Orange can offer an internship for a Stockport College student this summer for one week, which would be a good opportunity to make contacts and get a feel for what a collective is like. Last year, Dan & Martin from Stockport were involved with an AOI poster which got mailed out with the magazine - & they were able to take 500 copies of the poster away with them.
The studio collective was started 15-16 years ago by RCA students including Andy Lovell and Darrell Rees. Peepshow, Container and Le Gun are all collectives, too. Big Orange currently has 8 illustrators and shares studio space with AOI, which has anywhere between 4-12 people, depending on any internships (AOI also take on illustration graduates – recently from RCA, Kingston, London).
Andy talked about the many advantages of a collective – pooling resources, sharing rent (£200/month each), phones, photocopier, computer network. Maybe the biggest advantage is the support network to keep you going at illustration. If you work on your own you need to be very well organised, good at promotion and not prone to loneliness. He feels they have a good mix of skills and personalities at the studio. They even share contacts, although this can be a problem at times if someone has spent a lot of time building up a contact. The Editorial contacts are maybe less precious, though. They do occasionally work together, although they have not done so recently. Paul Davis is the illustration editor for The Drawbridge paper, a good promo magazine & platform for illustration (comes out once/2 months).
The studio is open 24 hours/day, and this is really important in order to meet deadlines, especially for editorials with daily papers and work in America, where there are different time zones. Toby Morison sometimes comes in at 5am to meet a deadline, and then takes a kip in the studio!
The disadvantage to a collective? You need to fit with others and their music tastes. The dynamics change with the mix of people, and personality clashes could be a problem, although it has not really been an issue at Big Orange.
I had thought I would prefer to work as an illustrator from the comfort of home, but I can now see the numerous advantages in working as part of a collective and pooling resources and support. It would be a lot more expensive, though, and the pressure to find work would be more intense in order to pay the studio rent.