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DESIGN SPOT – Myrtle Street Studio

July 31, 2010

Today’s DESIGN SPOT sees the expansion of the column to cover a more diverse range of professionals in the creative industries. As my practice spans art, craft and design, I come into contact and work with artists, curators, photographers, retailers and other small creative businesses, so, I thought it only fitting to share with you the very talented people I meet!

Artist and Director of Myrtle Street Studio (MSS), Jay Dee Dearness is a truly proactive and visionary individual, not afraid to dive head on into new projects and get her hands dirty building great things from the ground up. Jay Dee is a talented artist whose practice has a strong focus on printmaking and photography, but is also a well developed painter and illustrator. Here’s part of her story…

What services do you offer?

The studio that I work from doubles as a gallery space which is available for emerging and mid-career artists specifically working in paper or print media to show their product. The aim of this being to provide a much-needed space suitable for the specific display of these kinds of works in Brisbane.

Describe your background and what led you to starting your business?

A change of career path from designer to printmaker and the following frustrations which ensued when I began to exhibit my own work led me to starting Myrtle Street Studio (MSS). Most current facilities available to emerging artists are just too large, only available to certain groups in the community or do not provide the level of professionalism required when selling artwork.

How did you come up with your business name?

From our street address – easy to remember and locate!

What exhibitions do you have lined up for the rest of the year?

MSS has two exhibitions opening towards the end of the year including some really beautiful works on paper by Carolyn Gardiner, a local emerging artist, which focus on her home and the objects within it and reflect her associations with that space. At Xmas we are exhibiting the Penny Black project, curated by Joanna Coltman, in conjunction with a Zine launch.

What are the most important things for you to communicate through MSS?

The idea behind Myrtle Street Studio was to not only provide myself with a studio space and a gallery setting for other artists working in print and paper, but to open this up to the community and provide a space which encourages the general public to learn more about these media in a less confrontational manner than most galleries. Hence, my wish to keep it local (within a residential environment) and an inviting place to access. Now that Brisbane’s own open access printmaking group (Impress Printmakers’ Studio) has been successful in its bid to use the Kedron Park Substation as a printmaking facility, I think we can expect a boost in knowledge of these processes by the public and hopefully a wider and more discerning audience for works produced.

Were there any specific gallery models or other printmaking studios overseas that informed the direction of MSS?

The push to create this space as multi-purpose came from experiences overseas where I had the opportunity to observe how other artists/artisans worked and carried out their business. In most cases, especially throughout Europe, artists are able to work from home with a studio attached which is accessible to the public or a main thoroughfare in major cities. Unlike many parts of urban Australia, where we seem to expect that residential quarters are purely for that purpose, this model seemed to fit better in terms of monetary outlay and benefits from an environmental, work and cultural perspective. Using this model has allowed me to provide a gallery space which does not need to function solely as a gallery, thereby avoiding the quick death of many Artist Run Initiatives in Brisbane that rely on the continual supply of grants and sales to keep them afloat and the rent payed. Melbourne, where I lived for four and half years prior to returning to Queensland, promotes the cross-use of space for purposes such as this and has in turn provided local communities with cultural benefits they can enjoy locally without the need to travel large distances. The rejuvenation of Newcastle’s main streets is currently underway with this same spirit in mind and my hope is that more places like Myrtle Street Studio will be popping up all over Brisbane in the next couple of years too – art should be accessible to everyone!

Is there anything else you think you’d like mentioned?

We are now open for submissions for 2011’s exhibition calendar. This is fast filling up so if readers are interested in the possibility of exhibiting, they should contact the Studio ASAP. International artists are welcome to apply also!

How can we contact you?

By email – or mobile – +61 (0) 403 177 762. Our blog can also be found at

Thanks so much Jay Dee for bring a space like Myrtle Street Studio to life in Brisbane. I’m looking forward to attending many more exhibitions and related events at the gallery!

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Tory Richards permalink
    August 8, 2010 3:39 PM

    Please add me to your mailing list and circulars. Thanks


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