Articles

A View from the Easel

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)

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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)

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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)

 

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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)

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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)

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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.

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