CHICAGO — The 75th 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.

Jordan Scott, Chicago, Illinois (site)


I am a mixed-media artist. My current studio has a lot to offer, including four great windows, storage, a convenient slop sink, and it is just blocks from my apartment. However, the space is substantially smaller than previous studios and I have to maximize the functionality of the workspace. I did this in part by redesigning some oak easels and creating a wall-easel system. It saves space and allows me to work on several pieces simultaneously. In addition, as part of my process, I typically turn a piece as I work to get different perspectives, and I can easily do this with my wall/easel setup. I can work sitting or standing and adjust the easels to accommodate any size project, from small to large canvases to sculptural work. I use a rolling taboret to organize my pallet of collage materials and tools. I easily move the handy taboret around the studio as I move from piece to piece.

April Armistead, Boise, Idaho (site)


For the last year the small third bedroom in my house has served as my painting studio. It’s a rental so I make copious use of plastic sheeting to protect the carpet from the paint I’m always tossing and dripping. I keep my most commonly used paints and papers in easy reach under the desk. The desk is usually crowded with jars of paintbrushes, palette knives, tape, and a cup of water. Always ready to paint at the drop of a hat, but I spend a lot of my time working on the floor.

In the back corner is a constant collection of artworks waiting to be varnished, photographed, or put away. My easel sits kind of in the middle of things where I can get the best afternoon light when working on portraits. Behind it is a closet packed with finished paintings, and some drawers full of supplies I seldom use. I try to keep the walls bare because I don’t like to have a lot of work lurking around influencing my current direction. The door is never closed so every time I walk by I can stop and observe the latest work and decide if I hate it.

Luke Ahern, Columbus, Ohio (site)


My studio acts as a science lab, improvisational space, and all together madhouse. The space itself is very cavernous which adds to the grit of surface that accumulates and accentuates the color palette that I work with. The work created here becomes as uncompromising as the space that it is made in. When installation occurs in a clean space the work creates new meaning for me as the objects become artifacts of the actions that occur here. Many artists are natural-born collectors and I take full advantage of this by using the space to store and collects objects, images, and ideas that collage together to make the work.

Michael Betancourt, Savannah, Georgia (site)


Here is my only dedicated work space. This photo shows the half where I assemble and finish my movies; the other half of the space is set-up as a photography studio, which is mostly just an empty space with a backdrop and some fold-away tables. Since I’m working nearly entirely with digital tools and do much of my prep on a laptop, there’s just not much to see in terms of studio. So while I do a lot of my work moving around on a laptop, but I use this space for rendering, audio, scanning, and digitizing analogue media. Right now I’m planning a new piece, so much of the tangle of cables and (really old) machines are put away.

My process combines a mixture of software running on both new and obsolete computers, analogue video, and physical processes to make my animations and imagery, so this space can get a lot messier than it is right now. Everything you see in this shot is set up on a small local network cut off from the internet; I mostly use the old PC for audio and scanning, and the MAC for running the PPC software that’s no longer supported on my newer MacBook Pro. I like having the windows here and a bit of sunlight as a contrast for digital screens. It cuts down on eyestrain!

Anya Weitzman, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (site)


My workspace is very compact — you can see from the back of my chair in the bottom of the image that it’s only a little wider than a human body. I love that I sit in front of a big open window all day, so the size of the space doesn’t feel restrictive. I have fans set up to blow exhaust out the window — I set things on fire and play with dangerous chemicals all day, so it’s totally essential — safety first!

On the right you can see my foredom flex shaft, my prized metalsmithing possession. It’s basically a drill with many attachable parts on the end of a long flexible arm, and I use it with every single piece that I make. Not pictured: glass of wine, map of mars, David Shrigley prints to keep me going.

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)...

3 replies on “A View from the Easel”

  1. ASTONISHING!!!!!!!! Michael Betancourt, Savannah, Georgia (site) Luke Ahern, Columbus, Ohio (site) HAVE IDENTICAL STUDIOS!!!!!!

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