Creative Land Trust and Cell Studios welcome artists to Block A, Wallis Road Studios

December 21, 2022

At the start of the month, Cell Studios opened the door of Block A, its new creative space in Hackney Wick. Cell had previously occupied the site before its redevelopment by Telford Homes, so we welcomed the chance to bring them back into this space, where they are offering a range of workspaces for creative practitioners at all career stages, enabling a truly rich and diverse artistic community.

The studios are aimed at visual artists working with painting, sculpture, moving image, performance and photography. In the right conditions, many people’s careers will thrive. However, this has never been more important for artists and creatives where light, warmth and space will help their practices expand, literally and commercially.

With several artists already in residence, we took a tour of the studios to see the positive impact that a quality, long-term, affordable creative workspace has already had on three of the new residents; and how it is helping them plan for the future.

Nigel Howlett

Nigel had occupied a space with Cell Studios on Wallis Road before the redevelopment and has now returned with the reassurance of long-term affordability and security. This enables him to make long term plans to grow his practice with the benefits of the additional space he has been able to take on.

Nigel’s stylised, figurative drawings and paintings draw on elements of the surreal and uncanny to explore the complexities and nuances of human experience. Many of his recent works evolved as a direct response to the strangeness of the past few years in relation to the pandemic, as well as wider political and social issues, and explore the psychological impacts both from a personal and collective point of view.

His work currently centres around a faceless character who appears dressed in a sleek, futurist jumpsuit with matching boots and metallic gloves. Nigel is hoping that his characters might be able to take on sculpted forms at Wallis Road and he hopes to be joined by new staff to support his practice.

Jack Wates 

We’ve never seen someone move a van’s worth of equipment in and set up so quickly, but Jack didn’t waste any time taking advantage of his new location. An artist, design consultant and educator with a background in architecture and a specialism in working with light, Jack has a basement studio in which he creates site-specific installation projects around the theme of ‘immaterial architecture’.

The studio gives him the ability to have full control over the lighting and supports the development of his multi-sensory installations using scenography, architectural lighting design and the production of images.


Han Mengyun

We met Han while she was setting up the studio in the morning, where her love of the space and also the need for coffee were apparent in equal measures!

Han is a multimedia artist and bilingual writer who initially trained in the tradition of Western oil painting. She was then drawn to alterity in the histories of Chinese, Indian and Islamic art and undertook a long-term, dedicated study of their respective yet interconnected religious, cultural and linguistic discourses. Her vast canvases require high ceilings and she prefers to work in natural light: both hard to come by in a London studio.

Her work manifests a high degree of transculturalism, the process of becoming which led to her critical reflection on the conflicts and possible communication between differing cultural and aesthetic perceptions in an ever more globalised world.

Even our relatively short visit to this exciting new studio showed us how our mission is already making a difference by giving creatives the space and security they need. It’s early days for Block A, so we’ll be sure to revisit and see how the studio – and its residents  – continue to thrive and grow in this dynamic space at the heart of the vibrant district of Hackney Wick.