One of my main jobs while I’m interning for BHART#01 is to visit the studios of local artists who are participating in the arts festival here in Antwerp. During my visits I get to chat with the artists, find out what their work is about and what they will be exhibiting during the festival. But most excitingly, I get to see the spaces where they work. I think that there is nothing more explanatory about an artist than their work space. It shows you their style, their raw materials, and where they choose to spend all of their time. An artist’s studio is possibly one of the most personal and private spaces that you may be allowed to enter.
I’ve gotten to go to dozens of different artist’s studios in the district of Borgerhout in Antwerp, and the one unanimous factor in these immensely different locations is the way that this city seems to creatively deal with limited space. From the outside every single building that I have visited looks like a narrow, shabby terrace house of little importance. But the trick with Antwerp houses is that while they are narrow and modest on the facade, they explode out of the back with fantastic architecture and hidden gardens.
All of these spaces are magnificently hidden behind working-class exteriors, but inside every owner has renovated, redecorated, and revamped their spaces into tremendously beautiful and inviting places to work, usually full of natural light. There is nothing more surprising than bicycling down an ordinary working-class row of terraced houses, and then stepping into one and discovering a beautiful, hidden, sunny world that lives behind the walls.
Here is a selection of some of my favorite photographs from the spaces that I have had the good fortune to visit. To see all of my photographs from this festival, go here.