Quality art spaces at a reasonable fee are hard to come by in Tokyo. Often prohibitively expensive, and ever so slightly snooty, it’s not easy for young, upcoming artists to find somewhere to work in a friendly, open environment. Canadian Lloyd Cunningham, a long-term resident of Tokyo and owner of Roidoworks, an interior design and build firm, is a man with a mission. Cunningham, a media expert, carpenter, artisan and likeable man-about-town, has recently opened Art Wall in Bunkyo ward’s Sengoku area. Art Wall is a large, multi-functional space created by Roidoworks for artists from a variety of backgrounds—visual artists, sculptors, fashion designers, photographers and creatives from other industries.
To celebrate the opening of the space last month, Cunningham invited Rob Judges, a fellow Canadian and celebrated artist, to work on a large monochrome piece at the Art Wall. Judges created a playful pop art-inspired, graffiti-like piece and the reception party saw many of the city’s art players in attendance. Cunningham sees the space as the perfect venue for artists who need larger space but can’t afford the usual central Tokyo prices.
Like many of Roidoworks projects, Art Wall isn’t your run-of-the-mill characterless space. Refitted and designed by Cunningham himself, the bright and expansive room is fitted with a 10-meter custom-made white wall, with additional walls built from reclaimed wood, and a living area, giving a cool and artsy vibe to the art space as a whole.
A few minutes from Sengoku Station and a 10-minute walk from Sugamo Station, Art Wall, then, is perfectly placed for creatives based in the capital. “When we first started renovating the space, I wouldn’t have believed we could come this far,” says Cunningham. “If we are able to build a community of creatives here, and make it work, then I would like to seriously look for other spaces to refurbish into artists’ live-and-work spaces too.”
Art Wall. 2F 4-38-10 Sengoku, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo.