“Having both lived in New York, we're consistently shocked by the price of coffee in Sydney,” says Philip Crandall, co-owner of Skyfire Studio, Leichhardt’s most intriguing and ambitious new gallery. Even if you’re not after an artistic invigoration, you’ll benefit from the caffeinated kind here given you can grab an espresso for free.
Crandal co-owns the space with Paige Lampkin, a former economics student. The pair met at Colombia University. Despite their deep appreciation for art, both pursued careers outside the art world but were compelled to start their own creative space when they returned to Sydney. The space in Leichhardt’s Italian Forum acts as, “a home for excellent and challenging art and a hub for people with big ideas and the courage to get after them – whether that means learning a new skill, or starting a career as an artist.”
Creative skills, not just creative works, are a high priority here. The space offers lessons in fire poi (fire spinning) in the piazza, fertility yoga, DIY craft beer making, painting and tai chi taught by a former member of the Dalai Lama's volunteer security force. Friday is $8-movie night (with gourmet popcorn).
Skyfire’s first exhibition, Pulse, opened last week. It features sculptor Ro Murray; the young founder of the Camperdown arts collective, Gut, Sylvia Shrewsbury; live performance art by Isabelle White; and jewellery by Rupert McEvoy, who is just 12 years old and who was discovered by Lampkin.
“In our minds, displaying art is only one element of a successful artistic space. Galleries handle this in different ways, but given we're both great learning enthusiasts, we felt a program that inspires and challenges bodies and minds could really bring the space to life,” says Crandall.
“We hope people attending our classes and events can take something away from them – we aim to leave people with something they can use in their everyday lives.”