Each time I go to Margate and see the water and really feel the salty wind in opposition to my face, I chill out. My jaw releases, my shoulders drop and I really feel at dwelling. It’s unusual that I’ve fallen in love with this British seashore city. If somebody would have informed me I’d have ended up there, I may need been confused and laughed. I had by no means even heard of Margate earlier than I began working with Carl Freedman Gallery… I didn’t actually even love the UK! Margate is about an hour and a half practice journey down east of London in Kent. This seaside city, over the many years, was visited by upper-class aristocracy within the 1800s by famend artists like J.M.W. Turner. The Margate harbor curves across the North Sea, framing essentially the most magical sunrises and sunsets. If I do not see the sundown each night whereas being in Margate, I’m upset! No marvel Tuner saved visiting and made so many work of this sky!
I feel there’s a stunning similarity between Margate and Bushwick. Initially dwelling to working-class households, these two cities have been reworked (for good and for dangerous) into artists’ havens and areas to create work. Margate is prospering with artists, makers, and small companies reshaping the literal face of the city. Elements of Margate, like in Outdated City, really feel historic, some elements really feel like your typical vacationer seashore city, whereas different elements really feel owned by artists, and different elements are households. The murals and artwork areas across the metropolis are value coming for a go to. The seafood is scrumptious! However the neighborhood and folks of Margate are why I hold coming again. I used to be so stunned on my first visits at what number of superb artists, authors, activists, and mates I’d meet—and stunned there have been so many Black people!! I used to be stunned that so many younger individuals over the previous few years have relocated from large cities to maneuver to this tiny city to make a life. Margate in some way straddles being a small city with worldwide connections and relationships.
Now, I’ve an area within the TKE studios established earlier this yr by the artist Tracey Emin. I share it with my twin sibling, artist, and performer, Jarrett Key. The TKE area is dwelling to studios for quite a lot of artists, together with my gallery sibling Lindsey Mendick and can also be an 18-month residency for a dozen or so artists from world wide. It is good to be within the combine with artists of all mediums working collectively on this bubble. For me it’s thrilling to stroll round and see what individuals are doing, asking questions on what their challenges are or what’s subsequent for his or her apply. It is good to vent about your individual efforts and get impressed by the artists round you. Making work in Margate forces me to decelerate and rethink my priorities.
I’ve loved going again to the fundamentals in my studio in Margate and reminding myself why I like artwork and making. As I return to beforehand cherished supplies, smooth pastels, and watercolors. I scribble free drawings of my mates who dwell there. I’ve been recording landscapes, birds on the seashore, and flowers that reveal new shapes and patterns beforehand unnoticed. I’ve been experimenting with new colours and gestures for my work, but in addition in some ways, resisting the strain to make valuable objects. Simply issues for me. And I’m so grateful. —Jon Key
Portrait by Doug Gillen // This interivew started with Radio Juxtapoz