Articles

A View from the Easel

by Philip A Hartigan on June 6, 2014

CHICAGO — The 68th 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.

Rachel Denny, Beavercreek, Oregon (site)

Denny

I work in a metal pole barn with a view of a pasture and a giant cherry tree outside the window of my workbench. We built the barn about a year ago, and I am still figuring out storage and putting up a wall so that I don’t have to look at our tractor on the other side.

It is quiet and I usually have a door open and love hearing the sounds (Northern Flickers, chickens, the rain on the roof) from outside filtering in. I am constantly cleaning the space and it helps to keep my thoughts organized. I love it when it is full of work before a show as seen in the photo. It is like my own world and it is a good time to enjoy the finished pieces and check for any false details that need my attention.

I usually go in and draw at the window bench in the morning after farm chores are done and then work on various steps on multiple sculptures. There are usually around five pieces in progress at a time and it lets me take a break from one task like drilling holes in pennies, sewing, or cutting patterns, so that my mind and hands stay interested. It is usually not quite this clean, but I run a pretty tight ship.

Cynda Valle, Willits, California (link)

Valle

This is my indoor studio. All I can say is: out of chaos comes order! My work is generally large, time consuming, illusionistic painting, done with classical glazing techniques. It’s executed with exactly the opposite sensibility of the studio mayhem.

Michael Lontenero, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (site)

Lontenero

I actually share this space with a local antique store. They have the back 700 sq. ft., and I have the front 1700 sq. ft. We have a storefront and we sort of cover each other when the other one isn’t there in case a customer/client comes in.

The space used to be an after-hours club in the 1940s and ’50s, and before that a brothel, so there are some interesting vibes coming out of these walls. I have random hours. Sometimes I work during the day and the general public can just walk in and see me working. Other times I work at night when no-one’s around.

I have some open space and a desk with a few flat work tables. People can just walk through. Sometimes they get what’s going on and spend time talking and checking out the work, and other times they just pass through to the antiques. Either way, it’s good. Kind of like a fun social experiment. I usually work flat on the floor. I like the effect gravity has on my work. Things change when you raise them up when you’re finished and hang them on a wall.

Apryl Miller, New York City, New York (site)

Miller-640

This is a new studio space for me and it came with built-in desks and shelving. I love the scale of everything.

From left to right:

  1. Wheeled Cart: I keep sewing supplies here and store my paints on the top, for easy access.
  2. Table: It is a rounded rectangle, large, and higher than the average. It is perfect for laying out and cutting my fabrics I use for collages. It is also the place where I paint.
  3. Lots of Windows: It is essential to me that I have natural light in which to work. If there is yellow, there is light. If there is light, there is sun. If there is sun, there is hope.
  4. Desks: My desks are very d-e-e-p and l-o-n-g, which works well for me, as I am a spreader outer. I often work on more than one project at a time and I find it helpful to see them arrayed in front of me. I sit or stand at the desks, depending on the sort of project I am working on. If I am writing, I will sit, if it is visual work I am more likely to stand.
  5. Orange Thinking Chair: Orange is my favorite color and this piece is one of my friends who I have invited to live in my studio. Sometimes I will plop down in this when I am trying to work through a problem.
  6. Vintage Fabrics: I see them and they remind me of the state of my imagination, some parts being neat and orderly, with others twisting in wild animation, yet all are filled with color and pattern explosions.

Laurel Pluck, Ontario, Canada (site)

PLuck

Atelier Ludmila is the name of my studio where various works for performance are created. Here it is as a puppet factory midway through a production. Creating work involves lots of drawings, experimenting with various materials, painting sets, sewing costumes, and taking naps when and where one can and must.

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