I came across Sydney creators Ben Chandler and Caitlin Dubler at the most recent Brand X event, The Colab Official Launch July 23rd on Campbell Street in Darlinghurst. Six steps downstairs led me to the bottom floor of a warehouse building which had been re-purposed to fit artist collections ranging from jewellery and ceramics to androgynous spiritual wear.
Ben Chandler is the designer of the aforementioned spiritual wear and displayed his collection BLACK | KṚṢṆA which consists of cloaks, skirts, shirts, and sarongs made of fine black Japanese linens. The garments were an interesting juxtaposition against the wooden plates and cutlery that sat upon hand crafted shelves on the opposite wall. In the centre of the space, lay some ornate sterling silver jewlery designed by Caitlin Dubler. Dubler designs her rings with CAD software and a 3D printer giving her pieces an extremely unique shape and texture.
So how is it I came across this random space and hodgepodge of local artists on a Thursday night? Brand X invited me.
According to their website:
“Brand X (formerly Queen Street Studio) is a not for profit arts organisation run by Artists for Artists and is governed by a Board of Management made up of industry peers. Brand X re-purpose under-utilised space for Sydney’s performing, recording and visual art communities to practice their craft.”
The collective has up to 10-spaces available at any given time for artists to rent for studio use or in some instances apply for a full blown residency. The spaces are divided into three artist categories: Performance Artists, Visual Artists, and Musicians. Brand X exists thanks to NSW Government support via Trade and Investment Arts NSW. James Winter, Director of Brand X, estimates that approximately 20% of its resources are funded by the NSW Government with the balance coming from private donors and fundraising. Funding aside, the collective is clearly making a difference providing platforms and venues for Sydney artists to display their avant-garde creations.
Brand X brought all these artists together in one space and afforded my friends and I the opportunity to see their work. The event demonstrated one way that government funding can directly assist under resourced artists, amidst a perceived decrease in available artist grants in NSW. Brand X fulfils a public need of congregation for creators and consumers alike, hungry for culture, innovation and open wine bars.