What used to be a run-down building in Newcastle is now a vibrant home to a group of young artists
For the last three years 10 Cloth Market, in central Newcastle, has been the site of Fusion Arts. It was set up by a group of students and graduates who wanted to offer cheap studio space to artists. On the street front are the Moulton Buildings, which were built in 1898, and behind them are two houses dating from the late 17th and early 18th centuries.

Mark Collett has been the studio co-ordinator for the past year and he describes the site as it was some three years ago. "The building was in a pretty rough state, there hadn't been anyone in it for quite a while." Then the landlord came in, whitewashed, rewired all the electrics to make the building habitable, and then Fusion Arts moved in and people were allocated studios. There are currently about 24 people sharing the building, and many of them will be participating in Visual Arts North East, a month-long festival to be held in the city centre from 21 October.

Who's in your house?

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Mark Collett

Designer, studio co-ordinator and

furniture maker

Moved in: November 1996

Mark created his own flat at 10 Cloth Market, including the soundproofed box which functions as his bedroom.

"I made it because there's a dog down below that starts barking at six in the morning and a casino above which is very noisy," he says. He has also designed a new kitchen, which is being built, and wants to sand and polish the floors; then his apartment will be complete.

Michelle Neumann


Sarah McConkey

University lecturer and painter

Both moved in: March 1999

Sarah McConkey (nearest to the camera) concentrates on figurative painting, while Michelle Neumann, with whom she shares, creates oversized wire-mesh figures. Sarah finds that the only drawback with the space is that it has almost no sunlight, which she didn't realise at first. Even on a sunny day in Newcastle, the room feels cold.

Gary Certer


Moved in: March 1997

Gary Certer is a very romantic artist. He paints away under the eaves, sunlight streaming into the room. He feels that since he's been in this studio he's been producing some of his best work. "Painting here makes me feel confident, because you are reminded that other artists are in their studios, trying to find some truth in their work." He walks four miles to get here from home most days, to save money for paint.

Gillian Nicol

Installation artist

Moved in: March 1998

Gillian Nicol's work is inspired by her surroundings. She used to draw the view from her window all the time. Describing her studio, she says, "The building's great because it's kind of failing apart, and I really like that decaying aesthetic, I just work with it, rather than trying to fix it." She has her own private space and can shut the door - although she still feels herself to be part of the building's wider community. n