Harley Kuyck-Cohen23 Sep 2020



Cobalt offers a heavily subsidised studio space to help new graduates get established for a year.

Harley Kuyck-Cohen has just completed his time at Cobalt Studios.

Read here about who he is, what he does and what he has to say about the studio space…

Tell us a little about yourself and your practice!

In much of my practice, I am addressing the ways in which landscapes and structures are activated by those that use/inhabit it. Through the wide means of installation, sculpture, print and video, environments of varying scales collide. The domestic, polluted environments, precarious structures, symbols of utopias and dystopias, the body, all come together – making a fantasy over the reasons and motives for making space.

So…where are you heading and what’s in the pipeline for you?

Most of my projects have been curtailed due to the pandemic, it means I’ve been able to take more time to consolidate what’s coming up. I’m currently producing a new solo exhibition with Newcastle’s Slugtown Gallery, which is about to open up a new space in Shieldfield. Moving toward the next year, I’m also beginning to make work for both an international biennale and my second solo show with Lungley Gallery in London.

Have you enjoyed having a graduate studio at Cobalt?

Cobalt has offered a great safety net for me as an artist just recently graduated from my BA. While the studio itself is enclosed and the environment isn’t as social as other studios in the city, what I’ve most enjoyed is having the freedom to explore and push the limits of my practice.

Has it been useful??

My studio at cobalt has been totally useful. Throughout the year at different points, I’ve been able to use the studio as storage, a workshop space, a place to produce commissioned projects/artworks, and an environment to explore new materials and ways of working. The proof is in the pudding, and my time in the graduate studio has been a dense year of different activities.

How has it affected/changed/progressed your practice? 

My leasehold in the cobalt graduate space has given me one of the largest spaces that I’ve been able to work in for a prolonged period of time. With this, it means I’ve managed to upscale my practice in many ways, and given me quite a lot of privacy to change and develop – size and resize works and be more ambitious away from always making table top sculptures.

It’s been the first prolonged period of time when I’ve really managed to work in isolation, and I’m surprised at what has come out of my time there. Being on your own is tough at times, and its tested me on what I’m really looking for when I come to my sculptural practice. Sometimes you need time to yourself to arrive at something that feels new post graduation.

Would you recommend Cobalt to other people? 

On paper, what Cobalt offers is really great. For the space it provides and the freedom of access and location, I’d recommend it to anybody. For my practice it has really benefitted me. I think if you were an artist whose practice was about working more socially or collaboratively, I think you may find the solitary nature of the space a bit of an obstacle.

How can we be better at what we do?

THE HUNGRY LIFT DOORS! Ha. On a more serious note whenever I’ve reached out to the both of you you have both been very supportive. This also really applies to the other studio holders – all of you which helped me in my application to the small business grant which I would’ve been done for without.

Reflecting on the new studio that I’m about to move in to, one thing I felt I had been missing this year was a part of my studio where I could document work in its best light. If I had gotten around to it, I would’ve fitted white light strip lighting into my studio.

Learn more at http://www.harleykuyckcohen.com/

IG: @harleywpkc