Articles

A View From the Easel

This week, artist studios in California, France, Japan, Pennsylvania, and Oklahoma.

The 142nd 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.

Aaron Reed, Yokohama, Japan

My studio is one half of the second bedroom of our small apartment in Yokohama, Japan. The building itself is relatively new and sits in a very busy commercial neighborhood, increasingly popular with locals and tourists. Plenty of noise and music creeps in on the weekends, and the view outside my window is now just the dull facade of a newly constructed 47-story hotel. I lost the view of Tokyo Bay, the boats, the bridge, some old buildings, though I can still see a small amusement park.

The notion of SPACE in Japan is entirely different to anything I’d experienced previously. Working in a tight, confined area is not ideal. I dream of large tables, a concrete floor, and big walls. My work is small: whatever fits in my lap, on my table, or the page of a sketchbook. I work variously in acrylic, gouache, watercolor, oil, pencil, and ink on paper, wood, canvas, and built-up layers of collaged/sanded printed material. Despite the abundance of urban and natural imagery around me, my work comes not directly from this immediate physical environment but rather from internal sources: stories and scribbled notes, endlessly edited plans and sketches, a collected disarray of memory and daydreams.

Gladys Bonnet, Tours, France

This is the view of my tiny studio. It was a place to live before, but it now looks more like a workshop where I sleep. The landscapes I make are perhaps the will to escape from this small place. I go out a few times, so I live constantly with my work. Sometimes I hang my canvases like tapestries, just like the one that you can see behind.

I am an art student, but for reasons of space and security, I can’t paint with turpentine in my school, but I intoxicate myself every day, every night. In every room there are paintings. Even in the bathroom. I give them life because I live with them. But when they are finished, they are dead bodies to me. They haunt the place and mobilize it. I’ve tried to organize the space to enjoy the few skylights that I have. As you can see, my pallet is a zinc plate, and my container, a jar of jam, is for the diluent. My computer is my best friend. The oil tubes and brushes that I need to make color are on the floor. That is my little place.

Pat Badt, Orefield, PA

My studio is in a modest barn, one of three barns on a property that was the original homestead for the area, the farmhouse dating back to 1857. The barn was used for cars or carriages at some point, as evidenced by some sweet graffiti found on its walls while fixing it up as a studio. It looks out over an apple orchard, fields of soybeans, corn, and Huckleberry Ridge beyond. This natural world often has become the color insight for my painting.

Kevin Callahan, San Jose, CA

I have been working in this San Jose studio for just under two years. It is located in what the city has designated an arts district, so this former cannery is protected from redevelopment (demolition). There are approximately 70 rentable units in this rambling complex of buildings. The studios are referred to as the Citadel, and the building has a very nice gallery space with an abundance of natural light.

My studio is approximately 380 square feet and is banked with windows facing South East. There was actually too much sunlight, so I fashioned window dressings with garden fabric. This is my third studio in San Jose. The previous spaces I rented, also former canneries, fell to Silicon Valley redevelopment. I draw, paint, and make relief prints here while listening to a local jazz radio station. I find the freedom expressed and the dedication to craft in jazz music inspiring.

Beverly Brown Wissen, Owasso, OK

This is my holy space — 20 steps out the back door, nestled amongst oaks, hollyhocks, and green space. One of those storage buildings you see advertised by the roadside, it’s been finished with my dad’s workbench, a grandmother’s rocker, tin from a Tulsa storefront, and a bird who happened to fly in while the door was left open for the dogs. As an artist and career teacher of visual art I can and will do most any form of art. I’m currently playing with clay and surface. That notebook holds my thoughts and research.

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