CHICAGO — The 74th 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.

Jan Willem Van Welzenis, Dordrecht, The Netherlands (site)


My studio is situated on the second floor of a striking house built in 1561. This building is owned by an art society, which I am a member of. Everything is old here: the staircase, the ceilings, the stories. It’s a society full of old people and grumpy painters. Still — or maybe therefore — l I like it a lot.

I don’t want too much mess around me. So, I made my studio simple, put my paint on the side and my papers and paintings at the back. I like the empty space and prefer to work on the floor. Normally I paint with acrylics, but the past few days I am experimenting with oil. It gets pretty messy. Dirty steps go on into the corridor and down the stairs.

It’s a great studio; I love it. Thought I couldn’t say why, I somehow cannot just sit here and relax. When I am here I have to work. Mostly I am restless, changing music, changing compositions changing colors all in a very short time.

Rick Silberberg, Ivoryton, Connecticut (site)


This is the studio I have been working in since 1980. It is a converted two-story garage. It has a propane space heater and a window air-conditioner so that I stay at the right temperature. It’s very crowded by my standards, because it has to contain all my supplies and store all my art too. I am always trying to make the arrangement of furniture tables, etc. more conducive to the creative act. The studio is connected to my house so that all my activities can be carried out simultaneously yet somewhat efficiently. The one drawback is its distance from the nearest artistic hub (New York), but this may be also its advantage.

Liz Tran, Seattle, Washington (site)


This is a very honest shot of my studio. Occasionally it gets a cleaning, but it typically looks like this. As you can see, I have about 10 projects going at a time. Due to a short attention span, it’s important to be able to switch quickly from one thing to another (painting, sculpture, printmaking, installation, etc). The studio is located in the glorified basement/garage of my home, and I’m fortunate to have a decent amount of space to work in (for Seattle). It has its own entrance off the alley, which is home to quite a few artist work-spaces. Sometimes I wish I were a part of a studio building, but it’s comforting to know that there are others hard at work nearby.

Shelley Rothenburger, Vancouver, Canada (link)


I’m a mixed media/collage artist, and I just moved to this studio space recently. It was a former storage/utility building beside a two-story house remodeled and turned into a studio by the landlord, who is an environmentally friendly builder. Most of the building materials are recycled, and I even have a “living” roof. What I love about the space is its wonderful bright light and openness. It is a smaller space that feels large. It also has loft storage, which was essential for me to be able to make a smaller space work. The skylights and French doors and recycled wood beams give it a wonderful warmth and homey character that make me want to spend a long time there. Its shape reminds me of a chapel.

Tracy Kerdman, Manhattan, New York (site)


My studio is in my apartment. I’m on the 40th floor in midtown, NYC. The space feels intimate and right in the middle of everything. The table on the left is mainly used for applying to exhibitions and website work. I work directly on the canvas with charcoal that I can easily wipe away and get started painting. Space is limited, so I keep it to the point. The sun is bright year-round, and the view keeps me working. The commute isn’t bad either.

Philip A Hartigan

Philip Hartigan is a UK-born artist and writer who now lives, works and teaches in Chicago. He also writes occasionally for Time Out-Chicago. Personal narratives (his own, other peoples', and invented)...

One reply on “A View from the Easel”

  1. I love reading about artists, especially about the ones who are trying to make it big,
    despite odds. This article was very refreshing as I could relate to it on so
    many levels. My studio is above a bar that stays open all night, so you can
    imagine how difficult it must be to paint or draw anything. But I really liked
    the way Shelley Rothenburger has used white in her studio.

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