The Gazette went to take a peek ‘backstage’ at the local artists who are using Thurrock as their inspiration at the new Artists’ Studios at High House Production Park.

The forty-studio custom-built complex has been built specially to ‘help artists take risks.’

Thirteen of the forty studios are occupied by Thurrock artists.

Acme spokesman Jack Fortescue described the artist recruitment process.

He said: “We ask: “Are you an artist?” If the answer is ‘yes’ -  that’s good enough for us.”

A look behind a couple of studio doors showed fly-wire taken from the notorious one mile long fly-tipping site in Purfleet – as well as sculpted heads,  loud classical music and a 20-foot high skeleton.

Video: Grays artist Michael Richardson, 65, of Lenthall Avenue, who studied at Slade Art School, explains how his paintings are inspired by the Thurrock landscape

Four of the artists at the High House Production Park live on site, with most exhibiting, including some work at the Tate Modern.

Each artist can either live in their studio or just rent it, and they have 24-hour access to the site for only £24 a week. 

Acme Studios, who run the site, explained how they did everything they could to recruit their first artists from Thurrock, despite an initial struggle to get Thurrock recognised as a ‘creative place’.

Now, not only individual artists, but also artists' organisations like Kinetika are relocating from London to take advantage of the thriving cultural scene.

For Thurrock, the booming creative industries at this particular park show just how much things are changing.

The artists' studios were funded by the Arts Council and also have a two-year research grant from the Knowledge Transfer Partnership to look at the links between science and the arts.