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Colorspace Labs: Kensington Visual Artists Open New Creative Space

On a side street in Kensington sits a renovated brick warehouse. The building is home to dancers, designers, artist of all kinds. Now photographers and videographers join the household at 1714 Mascher St. with the opening of Colorspace Labs.

Colorspace Labs is the brainchild of Charles Cerrone and Mike Colosimo. The co-working space that doubles as a print shop and gallery took a year of renovations to make. The idea for this business first started while Cerrone and Colosimo were studying at Drexel University.

“It started out because we needed a place to work outside of our homes,” said Cerrone. “Somewhere we could be and collaborate with other people.”

Cerrone and Colosimo (1)-2

Mike Colosimo (left) and Charles Cerrone. /Donte Kirby

Since Cerrone’s sophomore year of college, he’s been running a photography business. Meanwhile Colosimo has flirted with the photography industry for four years. Now they want Colorspace Labs to be a workshop for recent graduates seeking guidance and professionals longing for a collaborative space — a place that their past, present and future selves can use to achieve their vision.

“How can we help ourselves, four years ago,” Colosimo said, is one of the driving forces behind Colorspace Labs.

“When you’re in school you have access to all this [equipment],” explains Colosimo. He said that the average university technology lab has state-of-the-art printers, cameras and lighting equipment. But when students graduate, they lose access to this equipment. “Bye, that’s it,” he said.

Colorspace Labs offers all these amenities graduates are used to getting at their schools. Colorspace boasts Adobe Creative Suite on 5K Mac Workstations, an Epson 64-inch printer, a film scanner, professional equipment and shooting space. These resources provide recent graduates with the necessary materials to complete old school projects, or start entirely new ones.

Branden Eastwood Working at Colorspace-2

Branden Eastwood, one of the resident creatives at Colorspace Labs, works in the space. /Donte Kirby

The duo’s ultimate goal is to develop photographers and videographers with an entrepreneurial spirit. That’s been easy in a neighborhood like Kensington. The area has been growing at an impressive rate, with many creative-minded individuals moving in. 2016 saw Philadelphia’s housing market hit historic levels. Properties were selling in three months or less, according to Zillow, and the median price of Philadelphia homes was at an historical high of $149,000, according to a Drexel housing report conducted by Kevin Gillen, PhD. The market has since cooled but at its peak growth was enough to wipe away the loss in home values from the Great Recession.

“There’s so much community growth going on here,” said Cerrone. “Everywhere you turn there’s another pop-up shop or small art place that’s coming up.”

Branden Eastwood, a photojournalist with video journalist tendencies, is one of the resident creatives at Colorspace Labs. He’s been in the photography business for close to 20 years. He remembers when the studio was an idea he and Cerrone talked about over beers two years ago.

“One of the real drags about being a freelancer is you’re always fighting this sense of being on an island,” said Eastwood. “This space is the antidote to that.”

Eastwood making use of the shooting space -Donte Kirby (1)-2

Eastwood makes use of the large studio space. /Donte Kirby

For Eastwood, engaging a community of peers has been the defining factor in every great leap in his 11-year career in photography. When he sees Cerrone and Colosimo working on a project, the positive peer pressure makes him want to up his game.

Cerrone and Colosimo intend to be the second and third pair of eyes to help emerging professionals take their work from good to great.

“I like doing the job that if you do it right no one ever notices,” said Colosimo. “It kind of works out well that [Cerrone] is the face of everything.”

“I get stuck with the decisions that give me horrible anxiety and keep me up at night,” said Cerrone.

On Friday, May 5th, Colorspace Labs opens its doors for their first big gallery event, “This World Is Not for Me.” The event will showcase the print work of Jim Anderson. See firsthand the space Cerrone and Colosimo have sunk the last year of their energy into.

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