Articles

A View From the Easel

This week, artist studios in Massachusetts, New Mexico, New York, and Pennsylvania.

The 114th 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.

John McKaig, Williamsport, PA (site)

My space is one of many artist/creator spaces that have been built inside a large old factory in Williamsport, PA (the factory that made Keds sneakers back in the day). My studio is the best space I’ve ever had to work in — 400 square feet, 14-foot ceilings, large windows, open, safe, free wireless, track lighting, relatively quiet.

Like many artists, I have at least a couple pieces developing at one time, which the open layout allows me to do.  Even though I tend so spend most of my time on one piece at a time until it’s finished, I do move to another block to cut, or back to my easel for a drawing or painting I’m working on, or a preliminary drawing for the next large piece. I have an adjacent storage space as well, so if I need to get pieces out the of the way, I can easily move them. The pieces leaning against the wall are usually ones I need handy for shipment for an upcoming exhibition.

Mimi Chen Ting, Taos, NM (site)

I built this studio next to our home on the Taos mesa in 1994. It comprises of two rooms. The painting studio has a utility sink and bathroom and also houses my office and a sleeping loft out-of-sight on the left side of the photograph.  It has 50 feet of continuous wall space, which I line with plastic and pin un-stretched canvases to work on. I like to work on multiple works at the same time. Completed paintings are rolled and stored in tubes on racks under my worktables. The floor space is purposefully left bare and open for moving and pacing without the fear of tripping. The wall on the right gets perfectly even natural light and is great for photographing artwork for several hours of the day.

The door on the left leads to the print studio, where I have my press. About five years ago, I installed 16 feet of stacks along one side of the room for storing stretched canvases. There is also other vertical storage for larger or smaller works built in corners and crannies in both spaces to keep the space organized and relatively uncluttered.

Susan Kaprov, Brooklyn, NY (site)

I’ve always preferred to work where I live. Why waste time and energy traveling to and from the studio, which luckily in my case, happens to be the spacious anterior “bedroom” area of my large apartment in Brooklyn Heights? Upon awakening, I can roll out of bed, wash up, have a quick bite and coffee, speedily review my email (ignoring the dreadful news-feeds), and get right to work. Although compact, the studio is quiet and peaceful, facing a courtyard filled with ancient trees, flocks of noisy birds, steady light, and lovely sunsets to gaze upon.

The studio consists primarily of three large working tables: one for my computer and printing station; the other two for creating new drawings, paintings, mixed media works, puzzles, photomontages, etc. I also use the largest table for occasional presentations to friends, curators, collectors, and others who visit.

Since I also work in the field of public art, I use the computer to visualize and develop proposals for large public spaces. Fabricating these projects nearly always requires my traveling to distant factories and artisans’ studios in order to translate my designs into permanent media such as fired enamel on glass, mosaic, and other materials. Although traveling is fun, all the ideas I develop materialize during the precious time spent in the magical solitude of this simple, intimate studio.

John Anderson, Jamaica Plain, MA (site)

My name is John Anderson, and this is my studio located above a contracting
business in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts. I have been making art for over 40 years, and this is the first studio where I have a large sink and air-conditioner, and I don’t have to worry about making noise! Last year, my landlord allowed me to remove a wall separating a small 80-square-foot space from the larger area in which I was working. This increased my total space to almost 400 square feet.

My work combines different materials and techniques and requires large and small tools, which forces me to be organized. At the same time, I also like having a certain amount of chaos where the things I find on the street bump up next to the forms I create, allowing me to discover new relationships I might not have considered. When the space becomes too chaotic, making it unsafe, I clean up, allowing the cycle of messiness to begin again.

Not shown in the photograph is my drill press, band saw, and dust removal system. I am proud of the fact that these large tools along with the table saw take up less than 100 square feet of space.

Jason Bryant, Brooklyn, NY (site)

I am a working artist who has lived and exhibited in New York and abroad consistently since 2005. My studio has always mainly been in my apartment, but there have been a few occasions when I have been fortunate enough to have a space at my apartment in beautiful Clinton Hill, Brooklyn and a space I could sublet in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. In both cases, I tried to keep the studios as organized and clean as possible. I find that if I keep my work area clean and maintain a sense of calm, it helps me stay focused on my paintings and helps in the process of making them as refined as possible. It can be hard enough just dealing with the chaos and frantic pace of daily New York City living, so when I walk into my studio, I can let all of that go and jump into my work with a sense of calm and focus.

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