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An abstract painter, former art teacher and one of two London graduates to be represented in The Dean Collection chosen by rapper Swizz Beatz for Bacardi No Commission, Berlin; Rupert Whale is bringing a new energy to the world of abstract painting.

Graduating from MA Fine Art at Central Saint Martins in 2017, Rupert is a London based fine artist participating in exhibitions across the country both as solo and part of a group, working with Tate Exchange in 2017. His work “reveal[s] surprising and fractured approaches to abstract painting.” ~ Herb Shellenberger on Rupert Whale, June 2017.

We ask Rupert about his working processes, the aftermath of a studio and the artist as the developer.

How would you define a ‘studio’? 

The studio isn’t necessarily where my work happens. But it is a form of a place of work; where I keep all of my tools and brushes, where production happens and where I formalise ideas. Within the studio my thoughts can be everywhere, but this space is where its all kept and brought together. My studio is within a communal environment, and once a month we talk about each others’ work and reflect, which is really interesting. People are always passing by though and making comments and I do the same with their work which can be such an enriching experience.

In terms of the actual space itself, the basics like being warm are of course important, but space is key. You need the facility to pin up your work and look at it or to view a collection altogether, and being a painter- height is a necessity. In comparison to university studios, this feels much more like my own, I’ve even moved within the building to another space which suited my work better.

It’s crucial for me to be close to home; being in the city center at the moment transportation is great because it’s really accessible. It’s good to be in town because I feel like I’m ‘going to work’ and it feels formalised experience. I am lucky to have a studio at home, but there are so many distractions and I’m not immersed in my work.

We have been talking a lot about developers and artists talking at the initial stages of a scheme, how do you believe this should work? 

It would be important for this to be a continued conversation in regards to artists working as a part of the community and parts of the studio spaces being quite transparent so it feels more integrated. Artists and developers should be looking at the aftermath of the studio, and those conversations also need to happen.

It is important within these new schemes to create the facilities for large works to be transported up and down buildings, and for sculptors to have what they need. Artists can be developers in themselves, I know of a studio space within a warehouse that is maintained by the resident artists, down to the plumbing and electric. It makes it their own.

What do you believe is the future of studio spaces is?

I hope studio spaces will stay in town. A lot of people are being moved out, studio spaces need to still feel within the city, in the dense urban parts — which might not be for everyone but it works for a lot of people.

Developers need to make a profit, and what is happening within development in terms of housing is incredibly important. But its also important for developers to know the importance of what artists bring to a community, an enrichment which trickles down to different parts of society, and that is why it does need to be more transparent.


Artists across London are part of studio communities, which can birth exhibitions, collaborations and inspiration for each individual’s practice.

How can we ensure this framework is an option for artists at all stages of their career amidst London’s gentrification?


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