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We asked John a few questions about the thinking behind this important new addition to Trafford’s cultural scene.
What is your own background as an artist?
I completed my Visual Arts degree at Salford University 16 years ago, having done my Foundation at Trafford College (so I’m a local lad). My own practice started off as very conceptual installation work, but I always realised unless you’re Damien Hirst that it’s of very little commercial value.
I spent a couple of years trying to make a living doing community art projects, but I was starting a family so put my artistic ambitions on hold and started a career in project management for the British Council.
I kept my own practice going at home, then two years ago I was offered redundancy and jumped at the chance. Since then I’ve been painting a lot more, although I’ve spent the last year trying to get the studios and gallery off the ground, which is just the same as having a job but more fun.
What led you to open Local Creation?
I wanted studio space closer to home than was available.
The years spent managing development projects at the British Council left a huge impression on me. As well as developing skills and knowledge around local economic development combined with ideas for how town centres might change to have a future beyond high street brand retail. Their focus needs to be on community, about creating a social hub, delivering a cultural experience, and introducing educational activities, accessible by all.
What made you choose Altrincham?
I’ve lived in and around Altrincham since I was three.
What are your plans to develop the studios?
I want to increase the amount of space – firstly to accommodate some disciplines that the current space isn’t suitable for, secondly to allow me to decrease costs per unit. From there, I hope to use it to facilitate an Altrincham arts festival.
I’m flexible in what I consider a ‘local creation’ – creativity can take many forms, from art to food to putting together collections of retro fashion.
How do people get in touch if they’re interested in hiring a space?