Articles

A View From the Easel

This week, artist studios in California, Florida, New York, and Oregon.

The 136th 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.

Nick Arcidy, Los Angeles, CA

When I moved to LA after a lifetime up in the Northeast, I decided that no snow = I’m going to paint outside and get some people-watching in while I’m at it. I jump back and forth between my desktop inside, where the computer-driven part of my process is, and this painting space out here. As connected as my work is to the internet and video games, it’s important for me to leave that part of the process inside and just connect with the materials and focus without distractions when I move out to the easel. The space is pretty ideal, except for the one part of the rug that my dog Rex has peed on so many times that it’s materially a higher percent urine than it is rug.

Jillian Mayer, Miami, FL

I must make my large sculpture outside due to the terrible materials I often use. I wear a chemical suit, two layers of gloves, and a respirator that includes goggles. I work under a large mango tree — which  I am allergic to — in order to up the stakes. My landlord jokes with me and says the area is now a Superfund site and that I must not take mangoes from the other tree, for they are his. He is excited about me shifting towards ceramics.

In order to keep my production from not spreading across the whole lot, an avocado tree marks my limits. Inside this avocado tree are very sneaky squirrels, but they are my friends, nonetheless. Working in Miami, I am fortunate to have lots of space and climate that allows for (almost) year-round working. I do hate the mosquitoes and have recently purchased a suit to keep them away, but like the mango tree, these flying jerks up the stakes. Since Miami is sinking and I work mainly outside, it’s impossible to not think about the timespan on the land. Thoughts related to that comment have greatly affected my work in the last year.

Vyczie Dorado, Manhattan, NY

What you see here is a tired (but extremely happy) Hispanic woman by the name of Vyczie Dorado working in her studio. When she’s not eating in there, she composes three-dimensional drawings/paintings based around the theme of a constructed home space. Right now, she is currently in the works of doing portraits of all her plants that live in her apartment in Brooklyn.

Hello! I’m Vyczie, and my studio usually looks something like this. The way I work is with all my projects put up on the wall, whether or not they’re finished, and bounce back and forth between each one until they’re all completed. Working this way keeps me engaged with each work and helps me discover more possibilities with the range of materials that I use.

Scott Brodie, Niskayuna, NY

Downsizing from a large studio to a room in a ranch house was not promising. But it turns out that 3/4 of my former studio was occupied by painting racks, a shop area, and a napping couch. Building climate-controlled storage in the basement where I already have a small shop area, and using my bedroom for napping, gives me about the same square footage to actually work!

To my left, outside the photo, is a desk with a computer. Behind me is a big ol’ Hoosier for supplies. The easel had to lose a couple of inches off the top, and a protective loose-lay vinyl floor was installed. An upside to downsizing is an adjacent patio. A downside is a nearby kitchen!

Julie Green, Corvallis, OR

A view from the easel on a sunny March day in Corvallis, Oregon: I am working on “The Last Supper,” final meal requests of US death row inmates. There are 825 plates complete to date. On the easel, a Texas plate is ready to fire, and a second Texas plate on the right, just beginning. The twig ball above the plates washed up on Cove Beach. It’s been hanging there for 10 years. The handkerchief below is a by-product of the series; I clean rubber stamps on it. Since Texas is the only state that doesn’t allow a meal selection, this cloth says “No choice” and “Texas” many times along with dates.

There’s a big collection of paint brushes to the left, recently fired plates on the floor, and my paint box from sign painter Sid on the right. On the base of the easel is a gold leaf death mask of Lawrence, our dear, departed dog. @claylohmann made it the day Lawrence died. While I painted, Lawrence always napped at the foot of my easel and remains there to this day.

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