Public Studio is the collective art practice of filmmaker Elle Flanders and architect Tamira Sawatzky. Public Studio creates large-scale public art works, lens-based works, films, and immersive installations. Grounded in the personal, social, and political implications of landscape, Public Studio’s multidisciplinary practice engages themes of political dissent, war and militarization, and ecology and urbanization, through the activation of site. Public Studio often works in collaboration with other artists.

Elle Flanders completed her PhD at York University’s newly created practice-based research visual arts program in 2014 and has mentored with some of the art world’s most notable artists, including Mary Kelly and Martha Rosler, at the Whitney ISP and Rutgers University, respectively. Flanders has a strong history of community engagement and has created award-winning films and installations. Her longstanding interest in the socio-political realm and how it relates to landscape have led her, in collaboration with Sawatzky, to produce site-specific public art installations that are immersive and re-examine the role of audience as participant/witness.

Tamira Sawatzky is an architect by training, having worked for the firm MJMA in Toronto from 1999–2010, designing large-scale, award-winning, community-based projects. Sawatzky began a collaborative art practice with Elle Flanders in 2009, bringing a spatial focus that contributes to the development of immersive installations and multifaceted exhibitions. Sawatzky’s architectural background lends itself to an emphasis on the structural, provoking a conversation between art and architecture and the politics of landscape and place. Since forming Public Studio, Sawatzky and Flanders have garnered critical attention, winning several public art commissions and awards, including the 2013 Toronto Friends of the Visual Arts Award. A publication about their work is slated to be published by Black Dog Press in 2018.

Public Studio is based in Toronto, Canada.

curricula vitae

Public Studio CV (*.pdf download)

about our collaborators

Eshrat Erfanian is an Iranian born Toronto-based multi-media artist. She has exhibited her work in Europe, Canada, and U.S.A. She opened her solo exhibition at Azad Gallery in Tehran, Iran, in April 2015, and will have her solo exhibition at Trinity Square Video in Toronto, in 2017. She has taught painting, drawing and art theory for the last 15 years in McMaster University, York University and University of Toronto. She is an alumni of the Whitney Museum of American art in New York City and has an MFA from U of T. In 2013, she finished her PhD in studio art in visual arts, at York University. Her doctorate thesis is focused on the effect of the new technologies, surveillance and virtual time on our everyday sensory and images of art.  Her current work includes Google Earth images of residential neighborhoods in Tehran and Toronto.

Anna Friz is a Canadian sound and radio artist who specializes in multi-channel transmission systems for installation, performance, and broadcast. She also creates dynamic, atmospheric compositions for theatre, dance, film, and solo performance equally able to reflect upon public media culture or to reveal expressive interior landscapes. Anna has performed and exhibited widely across North America, South America, and Europe, and her radio art/works have been heard on the airwaves of more than 25 countries. In the autumn of 2015 she will be joining the Film and Digital Media department at University of California Santa Cruz as Assistant Professor of Sound. She holds a Ph.D. in Communication and Culture from York University, Toronto, and recently completed a post-doctoral fellowship in the Sound Department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She is a steering member of the artist collective Skálar | Sound Art | Experimental Music based in Iceland and Berlin.

Lili Huston-Herterich is a Toronto-based artist. With a background in photography and a current focus on multidisciplinary installation, her studio practice is informed by the tendencies of space and how it affects the choreography of bodies within it. Working specifically with architecture, feminism, collectivity and domestic space, recent projects include participatory performance, immersive installation and utilitarian sculpture. Her work has been exhibited widely in Canada, the United States, and The Netherlands.