There are a few places in Cape Town, South Africa, that seem to have creativity pervading heavily through the air like a presence all its own. Bright Creative Space is one such place. It's a creative hub where people attend live model-drawing classes in a group. For the budding independent artists, a section of the workspace is available to rent.
Situated on the rapidly gentrifying Albert Road, the studio space has that quintessential open-plan “Woodstock factory” atmosphere. On entering, one is met with the immediate aroma of dried acrylic paint, lacquer thinners, sanded wood and coffee.
Bright is run by Anthony de Klerk, a fine artist and teacher with years of art direction under his belt, and Katrin, a German expat who is now the business brain behind the studio.
“We started here in January 2016. But Bright Creative Space was actually founded by Ross Chowles [co-founder of Jupiter Drawing Room] about four years ago,” says De Klerk. “He adopted the space as a neglected warehouse and started Bright as a centre for creativity. Sometime later, he was called to teach advertising at a university in America and so Katrin and I took over from him.”
Now over a year later, the Monday night drawing sessions draw a diverse crowd of regulars that has more than doubled in size.
"It is a tremendous energy in the room and an almost palpable focus that happens. There’s a model posing in the middle of the room, surrounded by doctors, accountants, graphic designers, art directors, students, travellers – you name it. Even though you can feel the focus of the group, the atmosphere is very chilled. People can have a glass of wine to relax and give feedback to each other.”
Apart from the weekly sessions, Bright has an art residency.
“We sort of have a rotation of artists and designers. Some people stay for three months or two years or even longer. What we have is a great environment for artists to work in and to be able to interact with other creative people who come through here. We like to keep things mixed and interesting. While it’s nice to sit and paint on your own somewhere, you still need that interaction with other people to avoid stagnation or self-doubt. You need to receive feedback and you need to give feedback,” says Katrin.
She encourages people who do not have a formal art background to give the classes try: “There’s doubt attached to simply doing something for yourself and nobody else – like, ‘am I allowed to indulge this?’ The answer is, of course, a resounding yes!”
Bright Creative Space offers visitors the relaxed environment to do just that – indulge in simple acts of creativity for the benefit of only yourself and be free of judgment.