One of the biggest transitions for young artists happens when they leave school. All of a sudden they are on their own, no longer surrounded by kindred spirits and with no studio in which to work. The question becomes how to create a space where ideas flourish and work is made.
I remember this experience and the fear (and excitement) it entailed. Since that time I’ve worked in a large private warehouse studio, in a communal space that was originally a dairy, in my basement, in a space provided by an employer, in a temporary space as part of an artist’s residency, in my home… the list goes on. Each space was unique but they all allowed me a place where I could imagine what could be. On a more pragmatic level, the work I now make in my basement is very different from the work I made when I had 16 foot ceilings and a large light filled room. So for me the space does influence the work but this needn’t be the case – virtual mock-ups, commercial fabricators, online projects are all realistic alternatives to a large studio.
I remember one artist who created all his work while sitting in a neighborhood bar in New York. He bent paper clips, wrapped rubber bands around cigarette butts, altered whatever he found in the bar or in the street. These tiny objects were then displayed as large installation pieces. Reminds you that work can happen anywhere.
Here are some quotes about artists and their studios.
One quote that influenced me is about the idea of home but it is applicable to an artist’s workspace: “A home is not an edifice but an interior and transportable adjustment.” –Thorton Wilder
“To have a sacred place is an absolute necessity for anybody today. You must have a room or a certain hour of the day or so, where you do not know who your friends are, you don’t know what you owe anybody or what they owe you. This is a place where you can simply experience and bring forth what you are and what you might be… This is the place of creative incubation. At first, you may find nothing happens there. But, if you have a sacred place and use it, take advantage of it, something will happen.” – Joseph Campbell
“The room within is the great fact about the building.” – Frank Lloyd Wright
“I think of my studio as a vegetable garden, where things follow their natural course. They grow, they ripen. You have to graft. You have to water.” – Joan Miro
“What one does in the studio is to pose a series of problems to oneself. I’ve got to look for some deeper meaning, for some reason for this thing to be in the world. There’s enough stuff in the world.” – Anish Kapoor
“Every time you go into the studio it’s like chasing a greased pig.”– John Erickson
“The airless studios grow stifling. Kick the door open – the hum of life turns into a roar.” – Feliks Topolski
“I have done some really good work under the worst circumstances and some pretty awful stuff in a well organized, pristine studio.” – Shirley Erskine
Write and let us know about your studio experiences. You can comment here or send a note to us at Facebook.