La Catedral Studios is a hidden gem

By Martha Gberevbie

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La Catedral is a hidden gem situated on Augustine Street, just off the top of Thomas Street in Dublin. It is a complex of 24 studios for mixed media artists and includes the Back Loft, which is a multi-purpose space. The studios are an artist’s paradise as they provide somewhere where the artist can completely lose themselves in their work and shut out the outside world, if they so wish.

The manager and founder of the studios Antonella Scanu welcomed me and spoke for her love of her work “I love working in an environment where there is a sense of community, a vibrant atmosphere, creative endeavour and cross-fertilisation of ideas. I meet new people, it’s a customised work and I’ve chosen this as a lifestyle.”
The studios are home to artists from all walks of life. They are all at different stages of their careers, some self taught and others well established. Students from the National College of Art and Design (NCAD), Dun Laoghaire College of Art and Design (IADT) and Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) also attend La Catedral.
I was introduced to many different artists and I was in awe of their art. One such artist Hugh Frazer, a part-time oil painter of mainly urban scenes, has been working at the studios for nearly three years. He said the Liberties is “a nice area, for an artist, with lots of nice little cafés”. He paints rooftops and buildings so the Liberties are a source of inspiration for him. He displays his paintings at the Doorway gallery, South Frederick Street. He paints for pleasure because he says “it is very hard to make a living out of painting”.

Paintings by Hugh Frazer

Ken Mahon draws comics and showcases his work online to the global audience. He has been drawing comics for two years but he only took the next step of hiring a space in the studios just a month ago.

Joe Burke and Cian Hanlon are the newest additions to the studios, having just moved in just a couple of weeks ago. They are comedy video makers and they plan to use their room in the studios for writing and filming videos.

While at the studios I decided to make the most of my time there and viewed the work of David Folan, a sculptor, whose “vulture” and “chicken” sculptors have been featured in the Irish Times.

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