The Studio

Originally nicknamed The Garage, as it consisted of a roller shutter door and 900 sq.ft. of dark empty space. Myself and my boyfriend at the time, Per, very bravely took on the challenge from an ad in Loot, in the then forgotten part of East London called Dalston. It was down a very dark alley, frequented by crack dealers and prostitutes. I put bits of tape down on the floor, marking front doors and studios, walls and living rooms.

We moved in with barely a front wall, we had homeless people living on the doorstep, bathed in buckets for months but after a pretty grim winter we had a big shiny white loft(!). Skylights and laminate floors. It was downhill or up, which ever side of the tracks you fall, from then.

Over the space of 13 years its constantly evolved, different areas devoted to living, working and play. I've staged installations there, had friends live on shacks on the roof along with a clutch of chickens, 20,000 diners have passed through, almost half of East London has lived here at some point. Now its a successful AirBnB 'establishment'.

I'm forever thankful for the energy of the place. It's now so full of my life and its treasures it feels more museum than home. I complain often, the dusting, the leaky roof and constant need of repair but deep down I know she is my best and dearest friend. Long may she live, however the developers are closing in. Dalston is far from forgotten now, the hipster capital of the universe it seems with more bars and coffee shops than residents. It is nice to get a latte I guess but how many does one need?

Pictures by Manuel Vazquez

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