Articles

A View from the Easel

by Philip A Hartigan on May 29, 2014

CHICAGO — The 67th 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.

Shelley Thorstensen, Oxford, Pennsylvania (site)

ThorstensenThe press in the foreground is a 1987 model Takach etching press, formerly owned by, of all people, Kenneth Noland. We bought it from his studio in Vermont and hauled it to PA. Don’t think he used it at all!

The other presses are for lithography. There is a silkscreen component to the shop as well. I tend to work in all printmaking media: etching, lithography, silkscreen, relief woodcuts, and linoleum cuts, with hand or digital components, all printed by hand. Now I have a shop that can hold this all under one roof.

Carla Fache, Miami, Florida (site)

FacheI am very inspired in this place because it allows me to experiment freely without restrictions. As my work is almost entirely intuitive, the characteristics of this studio give me the freedom I need. I usually work on several paintings at once, usually each of them at varying stages of development. As it takes some time for the paintings to evolve between layers of paint, my studio gives me the necessary contemplation space to continue creating new work constantly. 

The use of primary elements in my work, aligned around color, shapes, layers, and shades, really evolves. It’s born in my studio, which is completely painted in white and which enhances my view of space and dimensions.

The high walls of my studio allow me to create new large-scale paintings, something I enjoy pretty much. In my studio you will also see a variety of materials, including traditional and nontraditional tools such as squeegees, screwdrivers, combs, and palette knife.

Aaron Wooten, Chicago, Illinois (site)

WootenUpon seeing this series on Facebook, I decided I’d just walk into my studio, which is a small room in the backside of my house, and take a photo with no preparation at all. So you’re seeing it as it is. You’ll see the stack of folded laundry and pile of dirty laundry, which is exactly how I treat it. All aspects of life are intertwined. There are usually a few bottles of beer or glasses of whiskey sitting around. I usually only work from 20 minutes to an hour at a time, so it has turned into a place of constant motion and mess. I also hang my work around me to get ideas or reflect on styles that I’ve used in the past. So I don’t have to go very far to get ideas. I prefer it to be dim. The lamp there is the only lighting I’ll use during the evening and has a 40-watt bulb, which is soothing to the eye.

David Powell, The Hague, Netherlands (site)

PowellI use my studio as a testing area that seeks to challenge the singular or classical status that is traditionally accorded to painting. In this photograph you can see wall paintings, canvases, party flags/bunting, and various sports balls placed on hockey tape. My practice as a painter refers to an emerging social space that has at its core a remote communicative interface where text and visual images are in a constant state of flux. It interests me to make interruptions in these communications by making physical a painting’s presence. A painting is a flat surface that stands approximately 2 cm out from a support or wall — this physicality strikes me in lieu of flat-screen systems/smartphones/notebooks that we are sitting in front of for hours at a time on a daily basis. Simultaneously using or navigating programs such as Photoshop, Dreamweaver, and iMovie (to name but a few) is now a common extension of an artist’s studio, and has in many ways replaced the sketchbook. My studio now functions as a physical manifestation of digital interfaces, where painting becomes interchangeable and multivalent. Did I mention fun?

Emily Bowser and Ron Longsdorf, Reading, Pennsylvania (site)

Bowser_LongsdorfOur studio is part of our apartment. We see our space every day. The main studio area is about 16’ x 12’, but we do have flexibility. We are both sculptors/installation artists, so the studio space changes as we work on different things. Various pieces float and move all around the rest of the apartment with us. We live with our art, and among materials like snow fencing, carpet padding, drywall, foam, silly string, and plastic hobby horses!

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