“We make great art.”
Studio A is NSW’s only supported studio for professional artists with intellectual disability.
The enterprise tackles barriers that artists living with intellectual disability face in accessing conventional education and professional development pathways needed to be successful and renowned visual artists.
When you collaborate, commission and buy art from Studio A, you employ an artist with intellectual disability and ensure Australia’s cultural life includes diverse voices.
Thom Roberts - The National 2019: New Australian Art
The National 2019: New Australian Art is a celebration of contemporary Australian art. The second of three biennial survey exhibitions, it showcases work being made across the country by artists of different generations and cultural backgrounds. Through ambitious new and commissioned projects, the 70 artists featured across three venues respond to the times in which they live, presenting observations that are provocative, political and poetic.
Thom Roberts identifies as a Studio A artist and a Countrylink Express train. Thom identifies himself and all those in his social network as a train type. He sees trains as people and people as trains. Accordingly, for The National Thom produced a series of 16 paintings depicting eight personalities, painted in both forms as person and train. The 'train-people' are friends, fellow artists and personalities that have left an impression on Thom. These paintings were captured and enlarged to looming proportions. The work now hangs strikingly from a repurposed truss at the entry to Carriageworks, 'a bedroom for trains' as Thom would say. As a train devotee this is particularly fitting.
Emily Crockford - Salons des Refusés 2019, S. H. Ervin Gallery
The Archibald Prize is one of Australia’s most high profile and respected awards which attracts hundreds of entries each year and the S.H. Ervin Gallery’s ‘alternative’ selection has become a much anticipated feature of the Sydney scene.
The Salon des Refusés exhibition at the S.H. Ervin Gallery has established an excellent reputation that rivals the selections in the ‘official’ exhibition, with works selected for quality, diversity, humour and experimentation, and which examine contemporary art practices, different approaches to portraiture and responses to the landscape.
Emily Crockford’s 2019 Archibald submission titled ‘Funky Jungle Rosie in her Pom Pom Zoo’ is one of the 30 selected portraits to be exhibited. The painting is a portrait of Australian artist and good friend of Emily’s, Rosie Deacon.
Paired at Firstdraft, June 2018
Paired was an exhibition of eight collaborative projects between artists living with and without intellectual / developmental disability or cognitive difference including three Studio A-supported collaborations – Thom & Angelmouse, Emily Crockford & Rosie Deacon (pictured), and Arunan Dharmalingam & Jessica Hodgkinson
In celebration of Firstdraft’s exhibition Paired, curated by Harriet Body, Studio A presented Co-Lab. Studio A Co-Lab was an experimental activation of the gallery space that involved much more than just looking at art. Visitors saw Studio A artists at work, worked with Studio A artists and became part of the work itself.
Thom Roberts was there to digitally remaster visitors' faces into an emoji, while hopeless romantic, Meagan Pelham guided guests in an ‘Owl Love’ drawing workshop before they discovered their comic alter ego as Greg Sindel drew out their inner super hero.
Ringmaster and roaming performer Skye Saxon was on hand to keep everyone in line as kooky koala, Emily Crockford created chaos. And when the interaction goy all too much, visitors kicked back with a sausage sizzle and enjoyed live painting by Peter Dudding and Paul Williams.
Emily Crockford and Rosie Deacon - Tree House Koala Girls, Cement Fondu
Sydney's newest contemporary art space, Cement Fondu, launched March 2018, with an exhibition featuring some of Sydney’s most exciting artists, including artists from Studio A.
Studio A-supported collaborative duo, Emily Crockford and Rosie Deacon created a vividly immersive installation over a two month residency in Cement Fondu's Project Space and Studio A artists Mathew Calandra, Daniel Kim, Thom Roberts, Peter Dudding and Annette Galstaun also contributed to the installation with a collection of portraits depicting select neighbours living in the vicinity of the gallery.
Collaborations & Design Product
Collaboration is essential to the ethos of Studio A. It allows our artists to realise their creative ambitions and empowers Studio A, collectively, to increase the voice of artists with intellectual disability in contemporary culture. Studio A collaborations engender community and equality by bringing artists and creatives of all abilities together to gain inspiration from each other and create magic.
birdfoxmonster was a multi-sensorial performance and dining experience created through a new collaboration between Studio A and Erth Visual and Physical Inc., presented by Carriageworks.
“We all delighted in the sensory feast and the suspense at the heart of the birdfoxmonster tale. This is the start, a grand start, to such an exciting new work. Congratulations to all.”
- Anne Flanagan previous Deputy Director at AGNSW, 2016
“Ultimately, the effectiveness of any artwork comes down to communication...Considering that what is being communicated here is not just a mood or message, but an entire world-view, the triumph of birdfoxmonster is truly groundbreaking. Rating: 5/5.”
- Ann Foo, Arts Hub September 22, 2017
The Social Outfit
Studio A artist Annette Galstaun collaborated with The Social Outfit to design the Lioness print which is one of the highlights of King Botanic, The Social Outfit’s Spring/Summer 2018-19 collection.
The print combines motifs from two original paintings by Annette: Untitled (Lion and Lioness) and Under The Palm Trees. Annette’s recent work depicts scenes from her favourite childhood fairy tales, movies and television series.
Studio A Designed Product
Studio A produce an inhouse range of products from notebooks to totes and tea towels.
The items feature original artwork by Studio A artists and are produced with quality materials and ethical production processes.
By purchasing or stocking Studio A products you employ an artist with intellectual disability and ensure Australia’s cultural life includes diverse voices.
Studio A and One Another joined forces in 2018 to create a beautiful, socially conscious homewares range that supported both Studio A artists and communities of women in India and South Africa.
Original artworks by Studio A artists were reimagined using the traditional artisan skills of hand weaving and embroidery to create unique pieces that are rich in texture and story.
Studio A collaborated with internationally esteemed ceramic designers mud Australia, to create a range of ornaments and platters as well as crockery to be used in birdfoxmonster. Studio A artists, Thom Roberts, Meagan Pelham and Skye Saxon created original artwork on mud Australia’s iconic ceramic-ware - marking the first time that mud Australia has ever included pattern or design on their traditionally minimal and subtly coloured wares.
“Staff at mud Australia got more than you can imagine out of working with Studio A artists. It was invigorating, fun, inspiring. We were raving about it for weeks.”
- Shelley Simpson founder and creative director of mud Australia
Studio A is committed to creating employment opportunities for artists with intellectual disability, this includes managing and brokering professional relationships and commission opportunities for our artists.
We welcome any enquiries about commissioning artwork by Studio A artists. Our artists work in a wide variety of mediums and styles and after negotiating subject, medium, size and finish with our Artistic Director, we will assist you in choosing the artist who would best fit your commission.
Emily Crockford Westpac Mural
Months in the making Emily Crockford’s beautiful 39 metre long mural for Westpac Concord was completed in October 2018. Produced in collaboration with Group GSA, the design and colour palette was inspired by the natural environment and includes one of Emily's favourite motifs, the mandala. Emily worked side-by-side with muralist Meg Minkley to complete the painting in just over a week.
Australiana Masks by the Studio A Props Collective
A series of Australian animal masks created by the Studio A Props Collective were commissioned by director Thomas Avery to be worn by actors in an upcoming film project, November 2018.
Daniel Kim Sydney Harbour Painting
The Sydney Harbour Bridge at Circular Quay, 2016, by Daniel Kim - the view of Sydney Harbour from the top floor of the AMP Building, commissioned by AMP Financial Services
Thom Roberts Sydney Skyline Painting
Westpac Barangraroo, 2016, by Thom Roberts - commissioned by Westpac Banking Corporation
Emily Crockford Sydney Opera House hoarding
Emily Crockford Sydney Opera House image applied on construction hoarding at Barangaroo, Sydney CBD, as part of the City of Sydney Hoardings initiative, June 2018.
Interactive Art Experiences
Studio A deliver creative experiences that are about much more than just looking at art. We are passionate about the weird and wonderful, Studio A celebrate our artists’ diverse experience of the world and use creativity to invite audiences into new and refreshing encounters with the familiar.
Thom Roberts Crown readings
Thom Roberts is fascinated with and reads peoples crowns (the spiral where your hair grows from) and draws the animals and creatures he perceives as residing in subjects’ crowns.
"Thom Roberts’ crown reading provides one compelling example of an alternative form of communication being opened up between artist and audience, one that has a very different quality to the visual expression that may or may not be enacted by an object on a wall. What makes it so compelling to me is the metaphorical potential of this act – of reaching out to another person, whether friend or stranger, and making contact, hand to head. In the end, that may be the closest any of us can get to approaching the mystery that is the consciousness of another human being."
- Thom Roberts Reads Crowns, presentation by Chloe Watfern at AAANZ conference, RMIT, Melbourne, 5 Dec 2018
Meagan Pelham Love Poem Sorceress
Fall in love with Studio A’s very own Owl Love Bride Meagan Pelham as she predicts your romantic fortune, part of her performance piece as the Love Poem Sorceress.
Greg Sindel Super Alter Ego drawings
Greg Sindel is an established graphic novelist. In collaboration with the subject Greg deciphers their inner superhero, villian or anti-hero as he literally draws out their comic alter-ego.
Studio A in the media
The secret artists behind Sydney CBD's building site murals, by Sarah Swain, nine.com.au, 14 April 2019
This studio for artists with disability is turning out some of the city's best creations, by Ben Neutze, Time Out Sydney, 9 January 2019
Ethical souvenirs to take home from Sydney, by Emma Joyce, Time Out Sydney, 11 December 2018
Inside the A-grade art model making inroads, by Josh Wall, Westpac Wire, 11 October 2018
ABC and Screen Australia announce four Art Bites projects, Screen Australia Media Release, 14 August 2018
Salon des Refuses: No need for consolation tones, by John McDonald, Spectrum Magazine, Sydney Morning Herald, 29 June 2018
Emily Crockford is a Studio A artist. She is supported by Studio A because she has Down syndrome. In the past 12 months, as a result of the support of Studio A, Emily's career has sky-rocketed. She received a $12,000 commission from the City of Sydney to develop an artwork that appeared on countless construction hoardings around Sydney; she exhibited a major installation for the inaugural opening of Sydney contemporary art institution, Cement Fondu; and she received a significant commission from Westpac to create a large mural in their refurbished West Concord centre.
Emily says of her achievements: "At Studio A my art has gone good good good good. Since coming to Studio A I feel like a gold star genius. I love meeting new artists through the program. Making art makes me feel like rainbow colours, like I am an adventurer."
As a result of Emily's involvement at Studio A, we have contributed to her increased self esteem, increased aspirations for the future, broader social networks and a sense of belonging, increased financial security and improved mental health. Importantly, Emily is just one of fifteen artists with disability who we are helping to achieve all of these things.