My studio environments

16November 2006

As an artist in Minneapolis, I have built or converted seven spaces into live-in art studios.  I refuse to waste money and pay for a rental studio surrounded by an undisclosed number of other studios with other artists energy and work habits.  If I wanted that boxed life, I would have become a graphic designer and worked in a cubical.  The money saved on studio rental is money that I have used on needed and expensive professional-grade supplies instead. 

I have always obligated to be moments away from my work.  I used to keep an easel by my bedside, so when I would wake, my current work I was contemplating would be right there, my first thought, and imprinted into my mind for the rest of the day.  I was then able to keep my paintings in my mind, making compositional choices as I went about my day.  When I returned home to the studio, my contemplation was over and I immediately could start working. 

I have always constructed my studios toward my needs as a painter, which are truly the needs of my relationship with my chosen medium…oil paint.  All relationships demand a certain level of yearning obligation, and oil painting is the most demanding mistress.  Per her request, I prefer to have the walls of my studio painted to be the bluest white possible.  Cold, malleable, and unnatural so I can set the tones with filters on lighting.  I use cheap unnatural florescent lighting and have always needed to balance out the yellow quality of that lighting.  Studios are what they are: work spaces, and each artist will know what they need.  What I use is vastly different than what another will.  Working with oils paint requires a certain kind of studio.  If my current series of oil paintings is about contrast, my studio reflects that; if my work is about calm, my studio is calm.  
I keep my working environment just as a stage in theater, set up conceptually.  That way I can have the total experience of my concepts.  Sounds silly, fake, or just too much?  Maybe, but it is how I do it and it works for me.  I can be playful, but when it comes to my work, which I consider my life’s work, I am serious.
Over the course of nine or so posts, I am going to tell the stories of my 7 past studio spaces, most of which are interesting tales.  The Studios of my past have always been exactly what I need.  

Check back soon…
…something interesting is coming.