Articles

A View from the Easel

by Philip A Hartigan on February 7, 2014

CHICAGO — The 57th installment of a series in which artists send in a photo and a description of their workspace. Want to take part? Submit your studio — just check out the submission guidelines.

Judith Brisson, Montreal, Canada (link)

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This is my workspace at the Chat des artistes. It shows the three concerns and main thrust of my work: my series on the war and on returning veterans from Afghanistan and Iraq, small plein-air neo-impressionist landscapes, and graphic/stencilled political social intervention art as part of the collective Origamilitantisme (an outgrowth of the student movement here in Quebec).

Jan Ejsymontt, Rovinj, Croatia (site)

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My studio is my apartment. I have 60 sq m (645 sq ft) of space, so I work all over the rooms and out on my terrace. As you can see, the kitchen equipment gets a bit mixed up with my painting tools and my easel is an old disused heater, but it works fine. I often just lay my canvases on the floor, which has been covered with a sheet. I just hope I don’t splash the curtains or the walls. It means I can even make my dinner, do the washing, and paint all at the same time. It also means I can turn up my music, dim the lights, and work through the night, and in just five paces I can drop into my bed. I love my apartment-studio, but I would be lying if I said I wouldn’t change it for a bigger space.

I have a little gallery in a beautiful ancient town full of artists. It is a fishing village in Croatia where I am open six months of the year. My gallery is even smaller than my studio, but I can work outdoors on smaller paintings in the narrow street that houses my pride and joy.

Catherine Del Buono, Brooklyn, New York (site)

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This is my “home” studio where I print, edit my videos, and sometimes shoot and test out installations, even though it’s quite a tight space. Since the studio is in my apartment in Brooklyn, I have no excuse not to be in there every day working on something. I have a large window so I get a lot of natural light, which is good for shooting and for my mood. My two closets store my equipment, photo paper, very old hard drives, and a number of wigs for performances. In the background is one of my simplest works, “Your Face Here,” that I keep up as inspiration. (I have to keep replacing the large balloons as they deflate.) And I love my cushiony mat under my desk. It’s supposed to be a bath mat, but I found it so soft and furry that I keep it there for added comfort.

Steven Ketchum, Long Island City, new York (site)

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A few months ago, I changed apartments and gave up a shared studio space in Bushwick, Brooklyn. Rather than have a television in the living room, I set up to make a functional art space. I almost always use paper and grew to hate taping work to walls. It came to me that if I could use magnets I could easily move my art and group works together. First I used magnetic primer on the wall, which was a failure. Recently I bought a number of magnetic boards that I have mounted to the wall. It’s had the effect I’ve desired. In addition, I keep a decent-sized library of books nearby for reference and inspiration.

Ken Schiano, Chestertown, Maryland (site)

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My studio is in a two-car garage on my property. Due to the delightfully benign climate here (flip flop index: 9.5!), my studio is effectively plein air (I throw open the garage doors in the morning). Whether this has altered my outlook or flow of work is unclear, but it is undoubtedly a richer environment in which to work. It also means I share my space occasionally with various critters (wrens, hummingbirds, snapping turtles, snakes, toads, etc), including two cats. It would sadden me not to have these occasional visitors (they keep me humble).

The photo you are looking at encompasses half of the studio space. To the right in the photo is an old etching press (Zero Mostel’s) which I use for monotypes. I constructed the rolling easel (center) for medium to large format work (it can be set to any angle between 0–90 degrees from the horizontal). The sliding panels hold concepts for works and works in progress. Over the course of the past three years, fragments of thoughts or ‘guides’ have floated up and cling to the rafters.

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