Martin and The Art Collective

Over the past six months Justlife has rented a studio space in Hove for the Justlife Arts Collective. This has been an open space for anyone in the collective, service users and staff to come and work on their artwork and projects.

Last week we met with Martin from The Art Collective to find out more about his craft and his involvement with The Collective.

Martin began his vegan craft business about 18 months ago making wallets, belts, and jewellery out of recycled inner tubes from different types of tyres. He was inspired to create an eco-friendly business that created new things out of old and recycled waste. Things were beginning to develop and go well for his business when he suddenly found himself homeless and sofa-surfing, which meant he had to put everything on hold.

In June 2017 Martin was told about Justlife by a friend and he went along to one of our drop-ins. The Justlife team told him about The Collective and art studio and it was not long before Martin was a regular user of the studio.

‘From muddling through in my bedroom, to having to put my business on hold because of being made homeless, to then being able to work in a fully kitted out studio has been amazing!’

It’s not just the use of the studio that has made such a difference to the development of Martin’s business, it is also the community of artists that he met through The Collective. As each artist has a different craft or style of working,The Collective have been able to support one another through sharing ideas, running workshops for each other and increasing their range of skills. Martin explained how it is a real collaborative venture between staff and services users, all working together to become better artists.

Since working at the studio Martin’s business has come along brilliantly, he now sells his craft at vegan fairs, has an online shop with Etsy and Folksy and even sells his belts in a local bike shop in Hove!

His dream is for the business to become fully self-sustaining within a year and to be able live off the income from selling his craft. With the help of the Jstulife Arts Collective this is now a real possibility for Martin. In his words The Collective was ‘Just what I needed at a particularly difficult time’.

The Collective are now moving studio to the popular Open Market location, they will be fully installed early next year. If you are a local artist who has or is experiencing homelessness get in touch with Simon to find out more about joining The Collective.