BEFORE THEY GO
Venice Artists in their Studios
In May 2016 I came across a group of artists being forced from their studios. Their building was about to undergo renovations, and while the artists had been offered to return upon completion of construction, most could not due to the sudden increase in their rents. I asked to photograph & speak to them in their spaces before they left.
I have since made it my goal to photograph & interview as many of the remaining Venice artists as possible to capture this moment in time and to raise awareness of their plight & the changes in Venice for artists.
The loss – our loss – is two-fold: the people & the unique spaces.
I hope learning of their stories will inspire you to buy from local artists or even to offer to support them as patrons.
Because Venice without artists & its art spaces will be a very different Venice.
By the end of 2017, I had photographed and interviewed 55 artists. The words I have shared from the artists come from the time we met. Venice and the artists’ circumstances continue to evolve, and some of their situations have since changed, with a few having found new studios in Venice and others having moved away.
When I started photographing & interviewing the artists I didn’t know where I would take the project, but knew I had to leap immediately. At first the words I shared were brief, almost on par with captions. As the project is progressing, the time I spend with the artists is expanding, evident by how the stories have grown in length. However, since I feature this project on Instagram, the words remain concise, for Instagram has a strict word limit – a blessing and a curse.
But trust me, if you sit and speak with with these intriguing individuals, you will discover how much more I could write.
– Debbie Zeitman
Venice resident since 1985
RECENT PRESS FOR 'Before They Go'