Articles

A View From the Easel

This week, artist studios in California, Florida, Japan, New York, and Rhode Island.

The 128th 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.

Chris Clark, Jacksonville, FL

I’m a visual artist based in Jacksonville, Florida, and this is my studio space. It’s situated in a 100-year-old warehouse that used to be a grocery manufacturer. The warehouse is now home to multiple artist communities, a recording studio, photography studios, small businesses, and a boxing gym.

My studio is located on the third floor, affectionately known as 3B. Our bay is divided into about 10 separate rooms with a large common area. In my room, I have a section where I paint, a section to draw, and a chalkboard wall for when my daughters come to hang out. I also designated one of the walls as a mural wall for all my artsy friends to create on. On the outside of my studio walls I hang all of my finished work. I’m new to having a studio, and so far it is everything I imagined and more!

Chelsea Boxwell, Los Angeles, CA

I’m interested in painting (the verb) more than Painting (the noun), and my studio practice fully encompasses this. I paint on paintings that are on top of paintings and canvases that are on top of canvases. I incorporate patterned and sequined fabrics amongst the thick, raw canvas and attempt to capture every moment, every splatter, every drip, every drop, everything that happens in my studio. I believe every moment is important.

The paint that goes off of the edges, outside of where it is “meant to be,” is just as important, and often more interesting to me, than what goes directly onto the canvas. And that is how this chaotic system of mine came into place. This practice requires a lot of space, but it is my freedom space. I am free to let loose and do whatever pleases me in the moment. It is a place where I can exist in the moment.

Elise P. Church, Brooklyn, NY

I share a studio with three other artists in the former Jones Brothers Grand Union Tea Company building in DUMBO, Brooklyn. The space is a rectangle with one long white wall. This is my area. Primarily made up of a cluttered work table and a plastic-covered painting wall, I shuttle between both when I am in the studio several days a week.

I like to work intimately and precisely at my table, cutting vintage photographs for source material and then stand to paint expressively with a loaded brush of high flow acrylic. The daily coffee cups are essential to mixing the watery colors that I replicate from the small photographic images. A copy of an art magazine, a journal, an Exacto knife, and watercolor paper are tools for the quiet moments spent seated. NPR or Prince plays on the radio when I paint. Often in the company of my studio-mates, lunch breaks on a couch around a coffee table provide a social outlet as well as an exchange of ideas and news. I am fortunate enough to have been working in this same building for over 20 years alongside my friends.

Kei Arabuna, Kaga-city, Ishikawa-ken, Japan

My art space used to be a factory belonging to old Japanese craftsmen. I brought my own style to the space, and simultaneously, this traditional Japanese environment inspires me to create my artworks, which are strongly influenced by Japanese ancestral techniques and materials.

The space is located in YamanakaOnsen, a very spiritual place where all the traditional Japanese essence is still alive: people, culture, and nature converge to give me inspiration.

The building is unique; it has a traditional Japanese composition like the old wood houses but uses steel in its construction. It’s very convenient; I can adapt the areas according to my needs. The basement floor is dark, but on the second floor, the sunlight illuminates the area. I renovated the ceiling in order to create big sculptures, and I enhanced the place by making tables and shelves using the scrap materials left there. While I’m creating my artworks, from time to time I’m still making changes constantly to the space. It is a little far from my house, but I wouldn’t like to live there because I want to make it a special experience. On the way there, I can concentrate and think about what is next.

Robyn Thomas, Providence, RI

My studio is divided into two adjoining spaces. On the left, a partially souterrain greenhouse built onto the South side of my house (250 sq. ft.), and on the right, a basement space (300 sq. ft.). I do not store materials, books, or finished work in the greenhouse, but a sunshade, a small heater, and halogen lamps allow me to use it most of the year. The photo was taken standing at the top of stairs leading to a small patio — additional space in summer.

The exterior house wall, visible in the photo’s center, tops the white basement foundation wall with a long work table running back to the door joining the two spaces. In the lower left corner of the photo is the edge of my easel. In the greenhouse center is a moveable, two-sided wall; between is my palette and a work table; behind is flexible space currently being used to play with the installation of nearly completed paintings. Peeking out behind the exterior wall is a table for watercolor work. Additional fixed and flexible table space is located in the basement. Shelves and racks for storage line the back and right edge of the basement space.

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