Studio #1 – 116 Oak Grove – studio apartment

20December 2006

My first oil painting space in Minneapolis was in the basement of a house in North East, where I lived with people I did not like, and they did not like me.  That was probably why they had me paint next to the washer and dryer in a crappy low ceiling basement.  So lets call that Studio #0 and just leave it at that.

Studio #1, my first real art studio in Minneapolis, was a studio apartment in Loring Park, that I converted into an art studio.  It was a stimulating and productive time in my life.  I was examining abstraction, working on short stories and poetry, and learning how to make it without a day job.  I was relatively new to Minneapolis, and I had only met a handful of people I would consider friends.  

I converted the bathroom into my bedroom.  I had a board cut to fit the bath tub, attached with hinges to the top of the tub.  I would flip the board up, take a shower, flip it back down then roll out a mattress to sleep on.  The rest of the bathroom was a makeshift closet.  It was crazy cramped and messy, but it worked.  Seriously, have you ever tried to live in a bathroom?  We all do what we must to have what we want, and living in the bathroom was what I had to do.

The rest of the apartment was all art studio.  I ruined it in less than a year, getting paint on everything, and paid a high price for my youthful sense of creativity.  I used the freezer door to paint with at one point, as the toaster I was painting with at the time did not have a large enough edge to pull the oil paint how I needed it.  It was worth every dollar.

I probably completed 200 or so works of art in this studio, and it was crazy.
Here are some pics of the studio.

I was so proud of this painting, and its okay, but not nearly as good as I thought it was at the time.  I created many works that I am still happy with today.  It does not mater if my work then was good or bad, junk or masterworks; I was building the skills I would need later as a professional artist.  Besides, in our art world its all relative to the individual, so as an artist I could (and can) get away with anything I wanted to.  

At any given point there were 30+ oil paintings stacked up everywhere.
During this time I met an oil painter named Philip Hoffman.  I became his apprentice shortly after we met (mostly because I kept bugging him to teach me what he knew), and we continued to work together for the next 4+ years.

Philip working on “The infamous Purple lake”

 Philip Hoffman worked with me in the studio until its inevitable end.  We created an entire series of works together in there, and became good friends in the process.

It became crowded fast, no room for anything other than oil paintings.
I still have that green shirt, it is seriously my favorite shirt ever.

Even the tiny kitchen was used for some type of artwork creation.

The tape on the floor was set for where I was to stand while I looked at the stage of my still-life.  It was part of my self imposed training/study as an artist.

Catherine A. Palmer and I worked together for years.
We will work and exhibit together again.

I had a very good time in this studio, and I was a ham (excessively theatrical) so we took tons of photos.

Stefan Johnson worked in the studio with me at times.  Here he is painting with a bathtub toy wind up bear and a toilet plunger.  Look for 2.2.3_Other tools for a detailed account of that day.

The downfall of this studio was the parties, or as I liked to call them, the art openings.  We threw gallery-like openings with our paintings in the hallways of the apartment building.  We actually sold some work doing this, and it was fun.  I had screwed large lug bolts into the apartment hallway walls and painted white over them so they were not very noticeable, but easy to just hang a bunch of oil paintings for a weekend art show.  The neighbors didn’t care, they thought it as fun.

Eventually the apartment managers caught on and came to one of the openings.  I saw a group of suits come in, thought that it was odd, but maybe they saw the flyer and wanted to look at the art so I invited them into the studio.  We small talked and then I suggested that they take some time and look at the paintings, they told me that they had seen enough and handed me eviction papers.  That was the abrupt end of my first studio.  Worth every penny.

  I have hundreds of photos from this studio, so I will just leave you with just these.

Thanks for reading my blog…
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