TSOTA x TRS Studio Visits is a collaboration between The State of the Arts and The Royal Standard. TRS is a an artist-led gallery, studio and social workspace in Liverpool, working with over 40 artists. Every month we will be presenting interviews and studio visits with artists working in the space and chatting to them about their process, tools and the meaning of art-making. This month, we chat with Nikki, Hannah and Amy from BITCH Palace.
BITCH Palace organise events, but in your own words can you tell me a little bit more about what you do? Do you create art as well as help others to show theirs? How would you define your roles?
We each have different roles within BITCH Palace:
Nikki: I run the music side of things, came up with the idea in summer 2018. I started to notice every that event we played with my own band, I would be the only girl on the full line-up. At my first job after finishing university I met a few girls who all made music – where had they been? It gave me the idea to organise a night with solely female musicians. The idea from the start was always simple: cool events with cool girls run by cool girls. Nothing too political or aggressive, the point was to have fun events that are accessible for everyone. We also help to create a supportive and positive creative community, therefore we always incorporate local upcoming visual artists into our events (hence the word ‘event’ instead of gig) We think the links between different art practices in Liverpool could be a lot stronger and intertwined so the whole creative scene can thrive together!
Hannah: I feel like I’m in quite a transitional phase in my practice as I’ve recently started to become more interested in animation and exploring how I can bring work to life. My background is based in graphic design, creating art mainly for the music industry (be that album artwork or event promotion). I love working with other creatives, and having the challenge of helping musicians to visualise their ideas for their music. In BITCH Palace I create all visual promotional content, which has been so fun. It gives me the chance to freely explore and develop my own personal practice as well as spotlight some amazing artists and musicians.
Amy: Within BITCH Palace I mainly work with the artists that we exhibit at our events, as well as starting to organise some more art based events individual from our music ones. We have recently started life drawing and have done some collaborations with other artists organisations which have been really fun and it’s inspiring be around a lot of creative people who work with lots of different materials. My own artistic practice revolved around videos consisting of movement and colour. This has changed recently from my previous video work as I have been learning new ways to create videos and it has altered the look and content. Repetition features too, whether it be colour, shapes or movement, which I think works well for showing it in installation from where everything can be played on an endless loop.
What are your individual interests, in terms of art practice? How do they align and where do they differ?
Nikki: Growing up with a mum who is a photographer, I have always been very interested in the visual. From a young age I started drawing and making digital art in Photoshop. Even though I eventually grew more into the performing arts side of things (music), this interest and importance of the visual aspect in my work has always stuck with me. Personally, I really enjoy video art and could watch music videos for hours.
Hannah: My individual interests are so varied and always changing. I think that’s important to not pigeonhole your work and to keep challenging yourself – you never know where you’ll find inspiration. I’ve always been drawn to a strong colour palette and is probably the first and most important thing I consider in my own work. Other than that, at the moment I’ve been really interested in typography and hand lettering, sketchbook work and flip book animation. Basically, anything to try and encourage more experimentation off the computer!
Amy: My main interests of art practice are in installations, I like to be engulfed when viewing art and I find that mainly from installations, being surrounded by art work, taken out of the everyday life and into a new one for a brief moment. I think colour is a very important feature. I am finding that I am increasingly viewing art as an experience, and exploring what that means throughout different art movements. I think it can be a feature throughout what we do in BITCH Palace – giving an experience of art and music in the same event.
How do you choose which artists you will be working with? Are there certain criteria or is it a more instinctive process?
How we choose the artists and musicians is through wanting to work with musicians we know and love and then also through our open calls. We have managed to find a lot of really talented people, who we try to match musically when putting on an event so there is a form of cohesion. Same goes for the artists – we try and match them best to the music being played and through our own research locally and through open calls we choose artists to showcase during the events.
What sparked the idea to organise events? Was there an aha!-moment, or was it after some consideration and assessing what the current scene looks like?
As mentioned earlier I (Nikki) personally play and make music and have not produced much visual art myself. That’s why I would say that I mostly help others show their work. I am really passionate about helping upcoming and local artists get more recognition and attention. I have found as well that a lot of visual artists are more shy about promotion and getting themselves out there than musicians, so we love giving them a space to get their confidence up and give them a push. In BITCH Palace I am the musical director and overall events producer/coordinator. I am the main contact for everything music and venue-related and oversee everything coming together for the night. However, we always run our ideas and visions past each other and work well together towards the final event!
Have you kept up any online activity throughout lockdown to stay in touch with your community?
Yes! When lockdown was announced we came together (virtually of course) to think of how we could use the platform to promote a sense of togetherness, which we knew we would miss in the absence of our events. We set up ‘Quaranqueez Fest’ as a way to give the creatives we love the space to continue to share their work, and also give ourselves and others a more in-depth glimpse into their process. We have had a mixture of musicians and artists performing and talking us through their inspirations, what they have been up to during lockdown as well as how they create their art, some giving tutorials during their Instagram takeovers. It has been fun to watch.
How do you think the art/ music/ event scene that you work within will change post-pandemic?
To be honest, we really have no idea what the future looks like! Hopefully we can come back with some smaller, more stripped back shows like our Lazy Ladies events, or more controllable art event such as life drawing. Although things won’t be as they were for a while, we can use this time explore more fun art/crafting events which can be set up and easily distanced. If anything we could maybe unlock some new potential in BITCH Palace! We are looking to the future with optimism.
Are there any future plans for BITCH Palace that you’d like to share?
Well before the lockdown happened and all summer plans got cancelled, we were planning to host a stage at Liverpool Sound City as well as a few single launches. Hopefully after this is all over plans for festivals and venues reopening will be clearer so we can start planning and decorating our shows again!
And lastly, what’s the one tool in your studio that you couldn’t live without?
Pins, pliers and a glue gun!