First Ocean Studios residents announced

Plymouth’s £4.2 million development for the artistic community, Ocean Studios has announced its first phase of full time residents who will be moving in in June this year. The 31 selected and confirmed artists, craft makers, and creatives from a plethora of disciplines and career stages all echo the philosophy of the studios themselves which strongly encourage debate, dialogue, learning, expansion and artistic entrepreneurship.

Demand for the Ocean Studios, set within the Royal William Yard, far outstripped the availability so a transparent application process ensured a fresh and invigorating mix of artists, photographers and designer makers. One of the key deciding factors was the tenants’ obvious personal commitment to being an integral player within this truly creative community.  

Support, mentoring, diversity, sharing and experimentation will be continually provided and encouraged amongst the new community.  The Ocean Studios team will also be constantly driving the new space for debate, dialogue, learning, expansion and artistic entrepreneurship.

The flexible, self-contained studio spaces are currently being built to adapt to the personal needs, teams and disciplines of each of the residents. A project and event space will also be created on the first floor, along with various communal areas to encourage a constant, relaxed, easy and naturally engaging atmosphere of networking.

Over 60 fine artists and skilled craft and designer makers were shortlisted for the final residency selection process which was further narrowed down to the 31.  For those who were not successful, there are alternative ways to get involved through Ocean Studios’ associate programmes and a host of short courses across all artistic disciplines. Never before has such a staggering space been developed in the South West, accommodating such a broad talent pool of experienced artists.  Coming together at a pivotal moment in time, Ocean Studios joins innovative venues and movements such as Radiant and KARST, working collaboratively to raise Plymouth’s art scene to an entirely new level.

Amongst the residents, Nadja Wüthrich and Nicholas Leverington have relocated from Switzerland to take up residency.   Nadja and Nicholas work together, but also separately, on their individual disciplines which are most easily described as ceramics and photography. 

Nicholas won the Swiss Valaisian visual artist prize in 2013, sold a work to the Museum of Beauxs Arts of Sion Switzerland and has exhibited in the Thurgovian Museum of Art in 2012. Nicholas also won the Swiss Valaisian visual artist prize in 2010 and the Rene Lichti prize in the same year.

Nicholas says, “We looked at many places to relocate to, and we believe that Ocean Studios is perhaps the most exciting development for artists in the UK at this moment. We think it will bring a lot of artists to Plymouth and this will, in the long term, have a valorising effect upon the region. The better the communication between the artists and the local authorities the quicker and more important this effect will be.”

Nicki Taylor, a figurative sculptor specialising in wire mesh, has previously attracted much publicity with her sculpture of Olympic diver, Tom Daley exhibited alongside her Jason Gardener and Rhythmic Gymnast sculptures in 2011 on the Heathrow Terminal 5 concourse.  Abstract landscape painter Teresa Pemberton’s work studies place with an underlying narrative.  Her work is an orchestration of colour, light and space as well as abstract visual innovation and she will be using her Ocean Studios space to continue to push her career and practice forward.

Mixing further disciplines with contemporary ethos, Ocean Studios will also be the new base for glass sculptors, Adele Retter and Amy Whittingham. Elora Taylor, an illustrator and screen printer will be utilising her space to develop hand printed zines, assorted prints and bespoke gifts.   Amy Whybrow will be using her studio to expand her ethical fashion brand, Hawthorn and Co, driving new wholesale customers, selling to boutiques across the country and online.

Jim Rickard, who already runs an award winning full service creative agency, ‘Voice Group’ has branded and marketed iconic Cornish businesses since the company formed in 2008 and is now excited to be branching over to Plymouth through residency at the studios. Tim Pearse, who works in a variety of traditional, historic and alternative photographic processes, creating both conceptual artworks, and commercial imagery will be occupying a studio alongside Fine Art Textile specialist, Tess Jane.

Contemporary Visual Artist, Carly Jones says, “I think Ocean Studios is just what Plymouth, indeed the South West, requires to stimulate cultural growth in the area. There's a lot of talent in Devon that needs a platform to show the wider community what is on offer. This is a fantastic opportunity for local artists to be part of something special in an area that is going through a stage of regeneration and that is on the up.  I am immensely proud to be one of the first artists to be involved in this development and I simply cannot wait to get in there.”

Joint Founder of the development, Leigh Mason says: “We’re so pleased with our carefully selected collective of residents and we know they are equally as excited as us to get in there and start doing what they do best. It was exactly for these creative talents and diversity of practice that we created this inspiring space in the first place.”

Further residents will be announced in the near future along with the much anticipated date of the studio’s first exhibition. For further information on the short courses, associate programme or on anything to do with Ocean Studios, visit the website at: or email or either of the other contacts detailed below.