• WHY ARTISTS NEED A GLOBAL PLATFORM FOR STUDIO SUBLETS: A conversation with the founders of stusu.com

    Artist studio in Berlin, Germany, on stusu.com (direct link)
    Artist studio in Berlin, Germany, on stusu.com (direct link)

    stusu.com is a brand new online platform for artist studio sublets. Launched in Berlin one month ago, its founders Ralf Dereich and Melina Volkmann are now setting out to conquer the NYC studio market with the goal of extending globally.

    STUSU_Screenshot_03Ralf and Melina, why do NYC based artists need stusu.com?

    Ralf: Many artists need a flexible working space. They travel often or are absent from their studio for several days or weeks. Especially in cities with high rents like New York, London or Paris, it is essential to use your workspace to its maximum potential in order to be able to afford it. stusu.com makes sharing your space much easier.

    Melina: On stusu.com you can advertise your studio very easily. You can share the ad for your studio without the chore of adjusting it to different formats for emails or social media – you just forward the link! And stusu.com connects artists who advertise their studios around the world. So, if you are looking for a studio – anywhere in the world – you will find it here.

    Ralf: New York has so much potential because artists from around the world come to New York for limited periods of time. They have a grant or residency, or just want to experience this great city – and they all need temporary workspace.

    STUSU_Screenshot_02Why is stusu.com so special?

    Melina: stusu.com is THE platform providing the broadest range of studios on a global level. This is unique.

    Ralf Dereich and Melina Volkmann, the founders of stusu.com
    Ralf Dereich and Melina Volkmann, the founders of stusu.com

    Ralf: Because it perfectly meets the wishes and needs of artists. I am an artist myself and I know what things artists really want and need in their studios. Like music, haha! But seriously, I created the idea for stusu.com out of a personal need. And while developing the platform, I could put myself in the artist’s shoes and tell the technical developers what was needed.

    Why do artists need a GLOBAL platform for studio sublet?

    Melina: The contemporary art scene is a global network. To work successfully today, artists need to work abroad, have shows or residencies abroad. They need easy access to work space around the world.

    Ralf: As an artist, I’m constantly wanting to travel and work abroad to have new inspiration, meet new people, and develop ideas for my art. I think studio space should be much more flexible in general, something that can easily be found and used whenever and wherever you need it.

    What’s different about stusu.com compared to other platforms like craigslist or local providers?

    Melina: On stusu.com you can check studios without being signed in. You only have to create an account when you want to get in touch or when you want to advertise your own studio. We’re working on a multi-layered trust building system to verify all accounts, via email, phone, and social media accounts.

    Artist studio Brooklyn, New York, on stusu.com (direct link)
    Artist studio Brooklyn, New York, on stusu.com (direct link)

    Can all artists use stusu.com and is the platform free?

    Ralf and Melina: Yes and yes!

    How did the project get started?

    STUSU_Screenshot_01Ralf: Melina and I have known each other for 20 years. I told her about my idea for stusu.com because I wanted her to be part of the team. She is very marketing savvy, has worked in New York and Luxembourg, and also as a gallery director in Berlin. She thinks globally as well as economically, is market-oriented, and is also rooted in the art scene.

    Melina: Ralf’s idea for stusu.com convinced me right away. I trust Ralf’s creativity and his excellent sense for needs and improvement. We started to develop the idea, create a business plan and find investors for the project. In autumn 2015 technical development started. We launched the website on March 1st this year.

    What are your plans for stusu.com in the near future?

    Melina: We are constantly working on gathering studios around the world, with the focus for now on Berlin, New York and London. And we will soon launch a studio swapping function, which enables all users to swap their studios.

    Why do you consider New York so important?

    Ralf: Besides the reasons already mentioned, New York is one of the major global art cities and therefore a must. And as the saying goes: if you can make it there, you can make it anywhere!

    More info on:
    Tina Sauerlaender

    Tina Sauerlaender

    Tina Sauerländer is an art historian, curator and writer based in Berlin. With her label peer to space she has been organizing and curating exhibitions in different fields of contemporary art for several institutions and galleries since 2010, e.g. PORN TO PIZZA—Domestic Clichés (2015), Dark Sides Of… (2015), Across the Lines (2014), Visual Noise (2014), Money Works Part 2 (2014) or Entering Space (2013). She is the author of many texts on contemporary artists for catalogs, magazines or journals, e.g. Taryn Simon, Alicja Kwade, Carsten Nicolai or Anselm Reyle for the Kritisches Lexikon der Gegenwartskunst. Her website is www.peertospace.eu.

    1. Brilliant. I love it. I run a large studio/makerspace in New Zealand called XCHC and we’re always looking for ways to connect with a global audience of artists since we also have accommodation. We have creatives from all over with permanent studios, but would be great to host drop-ins!

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