Articles

View from the Easel

by Philip A Hartigan on October 19, 2012

CHICAGO — The 27th 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.

Vort, Salt Lake City, Utah (site)

The Cave is a six foot by 10 foot room under my house. I took the “Cash for your Warhol” sign off of a telephone pole at Art Basel Last December. I’ve been putting something in Free Boxes Everyday in 2012. The plastic door was broken off of a Free Box in Chicago. It has a Curly sticker on it and he’s one of my favorites. The Rocketman Print was my first attempt and it’s on a Macy’s Box. I call that version the star child. The Life Is Too Short sign is by Trustocorp, and I cut it down with a hacksaw the day before I moved from Berkeley to Chicago. I use the stack of magazines for collages that usually go in the Free Boxes. There is a stencil of Thurman Munson on tracing paper, on magazine, on wood panel covered with resin and hardener.

I had never seen a screen before moving to Salt Lake City. The red screen says “It’s Just My Job Five Days A Week.” Beside that is some Elmer’s Glue. I prefer 3M Spray Adhesive. The coffee cup is full of pens and markers, mostly Sharpies of various sizes for taking down notes and ideas for future works. Decocolor Opaque Paint Markers (Extra Fine are my favorite).

The Gallon container is full of QCM jet black ink that needs to be temperature set. (I use the oven in my kitchen for this. The company was not happy about this and told me not to.) The spatula sticking out of the bucket is used to spread the ink on the screen. The red clamps are used to secure the screen to the machine. The poster on the right explains how to grow crystals in Spanish.

Conor Mullen, Laramie, Wyoming (link)

A good portion of my art making takes place here in my living room. Working across various media I create drawings, prints, photos, small sculpture, and short films. Where the room gets fairly good light, I make most of my work late into the night. I’m lucky to have scavenged several containers that are useful for storing materials, collected works, and works-in-progress. That includes an old gym locker, a cabinet that once belonged to a print shop, and a large flat file — all of which allow my apartment to double as a studio/hangout. The desk has been my most involved reclaim project. Bringing together a light box, a separate table, and then sanding a scrap piece of Plexiglas down, I ended up with a work surface that doesn’t take up a ton of room, comes in handy for transfers, and cleans up easily.

Keeping my eyes peeled for throw-aways, taking the time to polish them, and embracing a few hoarder-like tendencies have treated my living/studio space well, and also informed the work coming out of it.

I also sketch with willow charcoal, pencils, conte chalk, and I’m considering pastels soon.

The best light in the entire condo is a little loft area over the front door and above the stairs. The space is very compact but I don’t need a lot of room as I paint very detailed work using small brushes. The shelves help me organize art supplies in such a way as to have everything at my fingertips and also for easy clean up — everything just goes back on the shelf.

Lisa MacDonald, Hamilton (Ontario), Canada

I used to paint at the dining room table in our old apartment but that involved keeping my supplies in various places including bins hidden under the bed. For each session I had to drag supplies to the dining room area, cover the table with a cloth and at the end of the day pack everything away again. My current arrangement means that I can leave the painting on the easel, leave everything on the desk if I wanted to, and resume the work at a later time. There is room for canvasses to be stored under the desk area but I do also have room in the basement right next to the furnace for storing inventory. I do, however, share the space with a wireless printer and modem. In the future I would like to have shelves with doors on them under the windows for more storage area.

The wonderful light this loft gives me helps to inspire my work. I can survey the entire downstairs from my perch and it is a cozy little nook that I have all to myself. Since the two loft windows face the front of the condo I also get to notice traffic and people moving around below so I never feel alone. It is tiny but it’s all mine!

Aaron Schraeter, Forest Hills, New York (site)

I have my studio set up in the dining room area of my house in Queens. I work off of my grandmother’s old easel, a table I made out of some old piano parts, and an antique painter’s table with a solid sheet of glass for a pallet.

I leave a plastic drop cloth on the ground, as I apply my paint pretty aggressively. It’s also helpful when I end up dragging some grungy (but beautiful) surface to work on. I don’t really use very much in the way of reference material, so I always have my more current works hanging around to draw from.

In this photo I’m getting the studio ready for my next body of paintings on wood after a small hiatus fiddling with works on paper.

Amy Talluto, Hudson Valley, New York State (site)

I work in a studio surrounded by deep leafy woods that are steps away from the back door of my house. I am currently working on a moody group of paintings in oil and some gouaches based on the local landscape around my new environs.

When selecting source images I seek out natural subjects that emanate a strong unique feeling and photograph them. It could be an unusual color or shape, a personified form, or a space that takes on an unexpected symmetry. I discover these moments in forests as I’m walking or on the side of the road as I’m driving. I like the experience of having images rear up in my peripheral vision and demand making. When I have a really resonant image, I’ll download it and reference it directly from my computer monitor as I paint or draw.

I have a heavy duty white plastic industrial cart on wheels that I move all around depending on what piece I’m working on. It holds my laptop, oversized monitor, brushes, and a potpourri of varnishes, gessoes, turps, tarps, nails, etc. And, of course, coffee(s).

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