Kit Davenport, Arcata, CA
This view shows the space where I make sculptures from (mostly) clay. The studio is the “living room” of the small house I live in; I draw, eat, drink coffee, and read at the foreground table, with an eye on the works in progress. I build the pieces on these tables, and after several are made and fired, I clean the tables and start the glazing/painting phase. The process of finishing work, with glaze or acrylic paint or collage, involves layering color and returning again and again to works — sometimes radically altering what seemed like a good idea yesterday — until they achieve an acceptable identity.
Carolyn Hancock, Richmond, TX
Pastels and light cover my studio. I squeezed my studio into a long, narrow sunroom, but found all I need for actual painting is about six square feet. That’s a six-foot table so all my pastels are visible and in easy reach, an easel, and step-back space.
The opposite end of the studio may be the most important: a comfy couch for resetting my energy, for studying, and most importantly, to look down the room at what is on the easel. From that resting spot and distance, I can analyze a painting and see its good and bad parts. A big desk in the center holds everything needed for sketching, value and color studies, and full size drawing. An expandable table with a mat cutter and a beautiful bookcase that I built for my art books complete the room.
Windows line three sides, pulling light into the studio all day. Even with that much natural light, I use an overhead florescent light for all work. The daylight balanced bulbs temper the brightness of sunshine and give better vision over the pastels. I’ve also found that this combination of light works well for photographing artwork, better than using tungsten at night. A comfortable room, functional workspace, a quiet place to create, and views of those Texas skies. What could be better?
Michael Newberry, Idyllwild, CA
After a few years in Downtown LA, I moved to a mile-high cabin that used to be the Bunny Pad in Hugh Hefner’s Playboy mountain compound near Tahquitz Rock in Idyllwild. The light from the cabin’s cathedral ceilings and skylight create a very nice atmosphere for painting, and I use two 5,500K Kaezi lamps to recreate the light at night. (I highly recommend them.) Along with the peace and quiet this studio offers, I also find it easy to work in. Idyllwild stimulates my imagination. In hindsight, I find my best studios are the ones where I did my best work. The Idyllwild studio is definitely one of them.
Anthony Giannini, Bronx, NY
The mess is cleaned up, and the studio is quiet.
Each work mimics its surrounding during production. Imagery and cut up archives are all scattered around the studio floor, ultimately organized and recreated in acrylic through brush and screen printing. Layers upon layers, bits of information come from various sources. It’s cathartic in a way — both in the production and the final object — to recreate the noise, to contain it, and for it to visually respond back. When the works are hung, there’s a need for more to be connected. One more panel, two more panels, continue the image, expand more, enough for the body to feel an actual encounter with something larger than oneself.
I picked this image because of how sterile it feels, especially in contrast to the work. But that’s how it is: an initial mess during process, and then an organized silence for a minute to actually see what’s going on in the work. One follows the other. Those kinds of movements in the studio have become ritual. Every time I got a new comic or video game as a kid, I cleaned my room before diving into it. I guess it’s an early attempt to silence surrounding distractions in order to focus fully on the object in front of me.
Suzanne Silver, Columbus, OH
My studio is a raw ground-floor space in an artists’ studio complex that was once a lumber mill. The studio is my medium as I respond to its space to make work. I engage floors, walls, and tabletops so that the studio becomes a site-specific installation and a laboratory for future work. Once I understand the relationships I have built in the studio, I can take materials and ideas elsewhere and compose in new environments, including the “white cube.”
I would like to connect creation site to exhibition space. The image shows a series of “painter’s ladders” in progress as I use the materials of painting to make the work. I will change the arrangements as I add new forms and shift from floor to wall. I also compose in relation to drawings on the opposite wall (not pictured). I worked this way when my small office doubled as my studio and continued when I graduated to my current larger space. My models for this expansive way of working are the utopian spaces of El Lissitsky, Mondrian, and Kurt Schwitters. Theirs were radical investigations of spaces of living and working and of the relationship of painting and architecture.
As arts communities around the world experience a time of challenge and change, accessible, independent reporting on these developments is more important than ever.
Please consider supporting our journalism, and help keep our independent reporting free and accessible to all.