Tags: A View from the Easel, artist studios, Barbara Rosenthal, John Tomlinson, Julia Schwartz, Meghann Snow, Michelle Muldrow
This photo of a corner of my studio was taken on May 16, 2011, when I was setting up for a studio visit. I’m halfway between testing out projections and cleaning up the pile of workbooks, scrapbooks and references that accompany production.
You can see a part of one of the many neons here, and part of my 7,000 book library, and the door to my darkroom. In the center is my main electronic media pod, constructed from mismatched file cabinets and hollow-core-door counter tops all found on the street or bought cheap. There’s my old MOOG synthesizer and a natural light lamp and a video projector.
On the short wall is a pull-down screen running the DVD “Push Me.” On the long wall are five prints from the suite Conceptual Photographs, 2011. Out of camera range, but visible to me, are six more filing cabinets, a 10-drawer print file, two clear white work counters, one small desk and chair, six 20″x30″ framed photo-print collages and large windows overlooking the Hudson River at the point the sun and moon set every day.
This live/work space is eMediaLoft in the Westbeth Artists Complex, so I occasionally develop projects with or for other artists, but mostly I’m by myself working on several things simultaneously in an unusual time-pattern. I almost always watch the dawn and sunset, and a 24-hr period does not divide into “day” and “night,” but usually has two wake-sleep cycles. Work-times and sleep-times alternate without regard to hour. And I assign all “out-of-studio” things to the same day (and as infrequently as possible). This pattern allows me long, unbroken periods of many days or even weeks without leaving here, just a zen-like work-sleep-work-sleep-work routine, usually silent.
My studio is in an old Elevator Factory building in Cleveland. I love it. It has enormous windows, one facing the elevated train tracks that run through town, the other facing the many red brick buildings surrounding the area. Oddly,I am just a few blocks from Lake Erie, but you would never know, since it is mostly industrial along the lakefront.
I always bring my little Chihuahua mutt Little Bit to my studio. She is 12 years old and sits with me while I paint. My floors are always trashed because I paint on the floor, usually only using my easel to prop up nearly finished works for decision making.
Because Cleveland can be very grey in the winter, you can see my heater and my lights that I paint by: a big tungsten light for warmth of lighting, which works as a nice heater, and a large fluorescent bulb. My antique architect table is from an estate sale. I bought it very cheaply and the large cabinet in the corner is from another estate sale. It was found in the garage and it’s perfect for storing paints. The vibe of this studio is amazing.
My studio is 100 miles northwest of New York City in the Upper Delaware River Valley of New York State. I share the studio with my wife Daria Dorosh. It’s adjacent to our stone house and is on five acres of beautiful hilly land. I have spent half my week there for the last 14 years. It’s a huge contrast to our city life and work where I am director of the New York Studio Residency Program, but I can’t imagine a more perfect place to make my art. I get a lot done here. My materials — graphite powder, 9B graphite sticks, pencil, mineral spirits, Bristol paper or polyester drafting film — are the focal point of my studio and my work: drawings, always drawings.
Several years ago, we converted our garage into a studio. On painting days, after the house clears out and I’ve checked email, I’ll head outside and see what is awaiting me from the previous session.
The radio is usually tuned to NPR or an iPod is queued to my mood or the series I’m working on. I usually work on several paintings at a time, moving from one to the next, maybe experimenting with works on paper in between. I have a large glass palette (which I had cut to size locally) which I clean only rarely, so the history of many weeks and months of paintings is a constant companion on the palette, in the dirty oil and dirty brushes (just out of sight in this photo).
My studio is only 8 feet by 24 feett. So it’s kinda narrow and long. This is what the studio looks like when I am working on a Dance Drawing. I don’t work on an easel, but I consider my floor my easel.
My daily routine is: come to my studio and make ballet shoes out of bubble wrap and tape; work on some dance drawings, or other drawings, or on video of documentation. Lately, I have been traveling with my work, and creating dance drawings in Paris and in Stockholm. I am currently getting ready for a couple of shows which I will perform in their spaces.