Swarez HQ a highly organised place featuring a nuclear ‘paint pod’, a huge gallery space and the finishing area – they’re all part of a large logistical process. Let me show you what each part does.
The Paint Room and Pod
This part of the building is where every single canvas gets painted. I commissioned a bespoke pod (a big tent) to be built inside the room to the same specification as those used in the nuclear waste industry.
The reason for this is so that I can contain all the toxic paint vapours and extract them safely. I have to wear a breathing mask to eliminate the ingestion of the hazardous vapours created when I use my enamel paints.
I have to isolate the vapours otherwise the whole building will fill with incumbent particles; breathing in residual airborne vapours, during the course of my daily routine, is a one-way ticket to death so the handling of my paints and their strict usage are my biggest priority.
The pod is tethered to the building to stop it from sucking itself in to a tiny ball as I operate under a negative pressure environment when the extraction is running. I am monitored by an air quality inspector as a condition of my insurance policy; serious stuff. And all this just to open a tin of paint. And if you ever think about doing one of my painting experience days this is the place you’ll be doing it in.
The Finishing Area
This space is used for the finishing of the paintings; processes that include surface treatments, frame assembly and stretching around the frame, final QC inspection and rectification, photographing the artworks and packing for clients.
The framing table is a bespoke item and can handle canvases up to 300cm in length; bigger canvases are stretched on the floor on a large piece of carpet. It’s a back breaking job and one neither of us enjoy doing I might add!
Additionally this is also where I can leave paintings that need a little more time to rest or store canvases that I want to return to some other time.
It’s also where we keep the tools and equipment required for installation days with clients. There’s also a mountain of experimental stuff here too and where everything non-painting happens.
The office of Swarez
I really don’t think there’s much to say about an office is there?
It’s a bit larger than the photo as it disappears around the corner; this is where Adrian sits (although I have the nicest chair!). This is the place where I run Swarez as a business.
I have a board in front of me for the current jobs and enquiries, one to the right of me with business correspondence on it and behind me there’s a load of shelving with box files, odd camera bits and a plethora of useless junk that may come in handy one day.
There’s yet another sofa in here (that makes four in the building) plus another coffee machine and a giant fridge full of sparkling water.
There’s normally cake here too so if you ever drop in I’ll cut you a slice.
It’s painfully cold in winter here so a giant mobile radiator is a must and during the cold months I am usually only found sat on top of it!
The Gallery Spaces
There’s room for around 30 paintings to be hung in the front part of the art gallery. This has been converted from a derelict space into what you see here. All the walls, the floor and lighting has been built and installed by me and Adrian. Two sofas and a two coffee machines are essential distractions.
The back room can hold around 60 paintings and is the more industrial part of the gallery. I decided to keep the heritage of the building alive in this part and it sits in stark contrast to the paintings within it. Works well though and it’s a really nice space to be in.
A few walls are built but the vast majority of works hang on movable clothes rails so I can rearrange at a moment’s notice and with very little effort – perfect if I want to bring something out to feature it for a visitor.