Articles

A View From the Easel

This week, artist studios in Florida, Michigan, New York, Spain, and Wisconsin.

The 141st 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.

Riiko Sakkinen, Toledo, Spain

My studio is on the second story of a 300-year-old house in a tiny village in Castilla. The plaza is still — illegally — named Generalissimo Francisco Franco, over 40 years after the fall of the dictatorship.

All visitors think that the studio is charming, but its beauty isn’t very practical. The poorly isolated space is freezing in winter and scorching in summer. The shipping companies hate it — the access is through narrow stairs, and the door is low. Big works must be crated outside. When I’m rich and famous, I’ll build a functional studio, but I know that I’ll miss this place where I’ve created many works since I was a young artist.

Michael Polakowski, Detroit, MI

I share my studio with seven other artists but personalize my portion of the space to suit my needs as a painter. In this picture, I have several paintings at various stages of completion. I like to work that way, often swapping between paintings within a body of work to create a unified aesthetic. Within reach of my chair I have my palette, airbrush, and at least a dozen varieties of acrylic paint.

Taking breaks really throws me off, so I try to have everything as organized and accessible as possible. Usually, I’ll get into my studio around 9am to get the most out of the natural light that comes in through the windows. In the past, I’ve worked in studios without windows, and it just wasn’t working for me. Having so many other artists around has also helped tremendously. So much of painting is subjective, and it helps to have someone who can lend a critique before I commit to a major decision.

Beatriz Albuquerque, Brooklyn, NY

I am a Portuguese-born performance and interdisciplinary artist that creates site-specific installations which I activate with interactive performances. Pictured here is my super tiny studio where you can see my work from both past and present in ceramics, photography, 3-D printing, and more. Activism, feminism, and food are key influences in my projects.

Tiana Traffas, La Crosse, WI

My workspace is a desk in the corner of my living room. I work in a very ritualistic way, inviting in those trance-like states that I think many artists know. I mostly work to music (Kelsey Lu induces the artistic flow) late at night when my family is sleeping. Often, there are multiple projects going at once, usually spread across the desk and floor. I work mostly with acrylic paint, India ink, watercolors, sometimes with fiber and polymer clay.

I draw inspiration from neolithic goddess cultures, myth, animism, symbolism, and menstruation, sex, breastfeeding, etc. My initiation into motherhood was this intense and powerful catalyst for emerging more fully into myself, and it inspires my work greatly. I have known as far back as memory reaches that I was an artist, but I’ve mostly created for myself. I have been anonymously wheat-pasting drawings, some with poems, and affixing small sculptures up in the streets of my neighborhood for a little over a year now. But now I want to really claim the title of artist. My goal is to bring my work out into the world. This means more street art, and selling at art markets, maybe even local gallery shows.

Laura Waller, Tampa, FL

My studio is a special, private place in my house where I can close the doors and paint with my oils. I am free to keep it as I please, organize it chaotically, and fill it with art and thoughts. It reflects the stages in my life — a messy room as a kid and in college, then a house of five people’s things overflowing, to the neatness of these later years for efficiency, to this one spirited room full of loved objects in my artist studio. I want to walk in and smile, and I do as the warm colors of my NYC paintings reflect my early years and heritage. It is me.

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