This has been one of the most exciting weeks of my career. Six months ago, I sat down with photographer Jenny Lewis over a coffee, and we talked about how we could push the creative side of Splice. We knew we wanted to support local art and businesses from Hackney and started to put together a strategy for doing so.
Splice is a post production company, and I am the facility manager. We create content for all major broadcasters, independent films and commercials. It was founded by co-directors Duncan Western and Damian Dolniak in 2002. The company occupies three floors of Unit 21, and last year doubled in size when we acquired a new facility on Singer Street, just a short walk away from Perseverance Works.
The company has been supporting local art quietly for some time. Our walls are adorned with dozens of fun and vibrant prints by local designer Jess Wilson (represented by Jealous Gallery on Luke Street), as well as East End street artist Pure Evil (who runs a gallery on Leonard Street).
But after our conversation, Jenny and I realised we wanted to push this further: why not offer our facilities as gallery space? After all, the foot traffic at Splice is full of creative people. We have more than 50 suites across the two buildings with at least 100 clients here each day, from commissioning editors to film directors.
With the help of Jenny & her contact list, we set about looking for our first artist in residence. First up was local publishing house Hoxton Mini Press; they loaned us an amazing photograph taken from their book ‘I’ve lived in East London for 86½ Years’.
As it was coming to Christmas we took the collaboration one step further and gave our clients one of their books as our Christmas gift. Next, we had the fabulous Crispin Finn, a graphic design duo that only works in red, white and blue and brightened up our January with their fun prints and stickers. We sold their calendars on reception – perfect for the beginning of the year.
I created a page on our website called We Love, which gave us a platform to talk about that artists we were supporting and I inserted direct links to their own websites. We also set up a Splice instagram account where we could develop more of a personality for the business and shout about the artists, while interacting with them and their followers.
The feeling among clients and crew was so encouraging. Each season they were coming into a completely different space that suddenly felt more creative than ever.
So why has this week been so exciting? Well, for the first time we’ve had an artist turn their attention to the exterior of our building. We have given our Singer Street facility as a blank canvas to Hackney artist Camille Walala who, along with a team of loyal Instagram followers (she has more than 16,000), has embarked on transforming the entire building. I’ve even had a paintbrush in my hand, taking me back to my art degree days!
It has been incredible to see her turn our boring black box building into a bright and cheerful art installation – every day I turn the corner from Old Street station excited to see it again. The reaction from onlookers has been incredible. There are constantly people walking around the building snapping photographs on their iPhones – it’s generated a real feeling of excitement in the area.
We’ve been busy filming a short film about the project which will be released next week so watch this space. I hope we can continue on this creative journey at Splice, supporting the local art and design that surrounds us in Shoreditch.
You can follow the progress of the building using the hashtag: #walaladreamcometruebuilding
Follow Splice on Instagram: splice_post