Articles

A View from the Easel

CHICAGO — The 91st 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.

Francesca Ricci, London, UK (site)

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I share a studio near Highgate Wood with musician Gaston Gorga and I spend most of the day here, surrounded by my work, but also by instruments and sound equipment. I tend to work in different media and on more than one project at one time, so here you see a variety of my current practice.

From left, some pencil drawings; below, scattered pages from a visual and written project I have realised with writer Kiril Bozhinov. Continuing along you see many works based on signs: these are all part of an ongoing project, ‘Tabula Impressa,’ and amongst them some are new paintings on textile, a technique I am currently experimenting with. These ones are called ‘Fondali’, which, in Italian, means both ‘sea-beds’ and ‘backdrops,’ and they are in a way linking me back with my training as a stage-designer. Dotted around there are also some small figurative oil paintings based on film stills.

There is one more thing that belongs to the shot but it is not visible: the sound of Gaston playing, composing, rehearsing, and recording on the other side of the room, which contributes to make this corner a very special place.

Anita Arliss, Atlanta, Georgia (site)

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My studio is a place to be and to think. My canvas is generally up in the opposite corner of the studio, across from the big chair. After standing painting for an hour or so, I sit and look, and continue looking until I get it, like what I’ll do next. The natural light coming in is luminescent and you can see that glow in the painting as well.

Bruce Adams, Huntington, New York (site)

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Twenty years ago I partnered with artist and art critic Richard Huntington to share a studio in an old soap factory. Four years ago we were forced out of that studio by a sudden large rent increase. After sixteen years sharing a space, we knew our needs, and this would be an opportunity to start fresh.

We found 1800 feet of space in the massive factory once used to manufacture Pierce Arrow cars. Our two work spaces are divided by a large storage area. We have both taken advantage of the high ceiling — 16 feet — to build a loft-like space that we use for additional storage and as a convenient viewing area for smaller pieces of art. As you enter there is a common area, half of which serves as a workshop with a large work table, saws, and many other tools. This is enclosed by a plastic “tent” to contain dust that we nicknamed the Kasbah.

Another part of the common area has a small refrigerator, microwave, coffeepot, table, and chairs, as well as a large collection of art books and periodicals. This plays a key role in our art practice. Here we sit and debate issues in art. Such discussions arm both of us with intellectual and artistic ideas, even at those times when we take opposite stance. Richard’s studio is packed, with a printing press and a computer area with two large format archival printers. I have a big couch, which is great for naps, and studio visitors. We each have areas set aside for painting, plus an assortment of shelves, tables, and desks for storage and work surfaces. I sometimes use Richard’s printing facilities, and he sometimes uses my open floor space. The thought of ever moving again is frightening.

Jen Hitchings, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York (site)

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My studio is located in the basement of a 20-year old arts building. It’s very secluded, and the isolation from both people and natural light has seemed to actually benefit my content, which focuses on social activity and a bit of psychedelia. It allows intense concentration. What may affect my work even more is the fact that a contemporary art gallery which exhibits vibrantly complex, detail-oriented works is one floor above the studio. I also work at the gallery, and thus am surrounded and influenced by those works, which I highly admire, constantly.

Allison Ford, Indianapolis, Indiana (site)

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This is my organized chaos; I come here to play. My studio is the place that allows me to disconnect from other obligations and focus on my work. When I arrive in the morning everything is just as I left it the night before and I can jump right in to the process. It is hard to believe from the photo, but everything has a place. The more my space resembles a whirlwind the clearer my creative vision. This is also a second home to my children. They are growing up surrounded by art and expression. Three of us share this studio and between our families and friends it is always action packed. I accomplish more alone but I don’t have nearly as much fun. What stared out as a workshop has become my community.

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