Architecture and art collide

Last updated 01 Sept, 2022
JPE Design Studio, an architectural firm, and Guildhouse, a not-for-profit that supports South Australian visual artists, craftspeople and designers, have joined forces to create an Art in Residence program. The initiative allows artists to work within JPE Design Studio and present their work as part of the Adelaide Fringe or SALA festivals.

The "mystery" of architecture and art

Art and architecture are often considered two separate “mysteries”, JPE Design Studio Director and Architect Josephine Evans says.

However, a new Art in Residence program, which is linked by two major South Australian festivals and not-for-profit Guildhouse, helps solve the puzzle.

The JPE Design Studio and Guildhouse have created a program to engage with artists and provide an opportunity to learn from architects.

At the end of the program residency the artists exhibit their work at the company’s Gilles Street studio as part of SALA or the Adelaide Fringe.

The Adelaide Economic Development Agency provides funding support for SALA and Adelaide Fringe through its Events and Festivals Sponsorship Program.

“Many people often feel like the arts is a bit of a mystery, and at the same time they think design and architecture are mysteries, but through this program we crack the door open,” Josephine says.

“The public are welcomed to their exhibitions and, all of a sudden, art, architecture and design all become accessible.”

2022 JPE SALA exhibition By Cath Leo 21
photo-icon Catherine Leo

Giving local artists a new outlet

The demand to be a part of the program was high, as was the standard of artists.

Guildhouse and JPE Design Studio chose four artists to be a part of the program, which aims to explore the possibilities of interdisciplinary collaboration between artists and architects.

Artists can build on existing work or create new work to reach new audiences and, ultimately, sell their work over their four-month residency period.

Artists are given opportunities to collaborate with JPE Design Studio staff, access research space and participate in presentations.

Josephine says that the business and artistic fields coming together through the program creates a “synergy” that is part of Adelaide’s creative ecosystem.

“Long story short, we had huge interest,” Josephine says.

“We ask (participants) to be a part of our design reviews … we encourage them to be a part of our process and have an opinion.

"In turn we are involved in the artist's process.

“It gives a different lens to the work or the problem we are solving … and we are forming proper meaningful, working relationships with the artists."

2022 JPE SALA exhibition By Cath Leo 31
photo-icon Catherine Leo

Then along came Matthew Fortrose

Artist Matthew Fortrose (pictured below), who has previously been engaged by the City of Adelaide through his exhibition Cityboi in 2019, is the first cab of the rank.

As part of this year’s SALA festival, Matthew is presenting his work Safety Measures at JPE’s Gilles Street studio. It will be on display until 30 September.

His work combines concrete and EPDM rubber to explore concepts of safety and structure.

“He brings a real urban dimension to us with his work because he looks at not just urban art and street art, but he also works with concrete,” Josephine says.

“He was really interested in getting involved with our landscape team for our playgrounds and skate parks.

“And he has also been involved in reviewing building façade design with us.”

Other participants include Craig Glasson (Fringe 2023), Michelle Kelly (SALA 2023), and Henry Wolff (Fringe 2024).

2022 JPE SALA exhibition By Cath Leo 131
photo-icon Catherine Leo

Why it is important to collaborate with different sectors

Josephine says JPE Design Studio, which started exhibiting emerging artists in 2013, and Guildhouse are leading by example within the arts scene.

Both JPE Design Studio and Guildhouse have extended their business as usual approach reach and explored new opportunities to connect and benefit the local creative sector.

“We want people to feel like design, architecture and art are linked,” Josephine says.

“There is a definite dynamic between them and new ideas come from this sort of collaborative practice".

Caption: Emma Fey from Guildhouse, Matthew Fortrose and Josephine Evans

2022 JPE SALA exhibition By Cath Leo 171
photo-icon Catherine Leo