Articles

A View from the Easel

CHICAGO — The twentieth installment of a series (Part 123456789101112,  131415161718, 19) in which artists send in a photo and a description of their workspace. Want to take part? You can peruse the submission guidelines here.

Jerry DeFrese, Austin, Texas (link)

After not having a dedicated work space for the best part of 2 years, I finally have a new space. It is attached to the house and once was the garage but with some demolition and adding on it is now one of the best spaces I ‘ve ever worked in and super-convenient to work in at any hour. I’ve only been working in it for a few weeks and it is still pretty much raw space with no real cohesive work plan — I’m settling into the space to see how it evolves before I make any other plans for storage and work areas. I want it to be as versatile as possible — everything on wheels — to accommodate any project that comes up. Storage and wall-floor space is always a consideration.

Ward Yoshimoto, Brooklyn, New York (site)

My workspace is my world. I try and work there everyday to keep my focus and energy flowing in a straight line. Filled with my objects for constructions, surrounded by my past work and work in progress, I am continually writing my story. My work has changed since I moved my studio to Brooklyn and will continue to do so in the future, with an open mind and renewed energy.

Rachel Henriques, Miami, Florida (site)

The daily commute to my studio takes me via the beach. I’ve realized that the drive is an important part of my process in clearing my mind before getting into the studio each day. My neighbours are a local fire station and despite the sirens and constant activity I remain undisturbed while working. The energy inside my studio is all mine.

I often work on larger format paintings, as I enjoy the physical labour involved in the making of the larger works. I also develop many pieces simultaneously as I like to keep a rhythm while I work. If I ever feel stuck on one piece, then I move to another that feels right. Moving between pieces enables my ideas to be fabricated before they are lost. My current paintings are mostly abstractions with some more tangible imagery here and there. This studio is my sacred space.

Daniel Maidman, Brooklyn, New York (site)

My studio is in a massive old factory building. I paint a lot of figurative work, with a model present. I chose a long, narrow studio so that I could get far enough back from my models to get a stable perspective. Like every other space I inhabit, it has become utterly cluttered. My supply table (actually a wheeled kitchen cart) is in the foreground, where the brushes and tubes of paint live. The work area includes milk crates and wooden boards to make modular platforms, chairs for me and for models, and lights for the model and the canvas. The window has a spectacular view of Manhattan, but I don’t look out of it nearly enough. The walls are covered with current and favorite work. This is my second home. I feel comfortable as soon as I get through the door.

Brittany Zagoria, Chicago, Illinois (site)

My studio is located within one of the bedrooms in my Chicago apartment. I live with my boyfriend, Sean, and my cockatiel, Stella. We share the room, with a desk, couch, and his music equipment taking up half of the space, and with my supplies filling the rest. I have some finished/in progress paintings taking up 1/3rd of the wall to the left, and two cheap TV dinner tables along each side of my seat that hold my immediate supplies: a glass palette, brushes, medium, turps and computer. A vintage, beat-up side table that I found in the hallway of my last apartment holds whatever is left. I empty my dirty rags into a mini metal trash can that usually has a big bottle of Galkyd sitting on top, tightly holding down the lid. Along the walls I staple pencil sketches that serve as studies for the painting I’m working on.

I mainly work in oil, and I usually begin working by stapling yards of gessoed canvas and sheets of paper to the wall so as to eliminate the arduous and tedious task of building, stretching, and sanding. Instead, I cut/stretch/mount the materials later when things seem to be advancing favorably. I’ve found that I have had more success working in this spontaneous way since it feels like less of a commitment.

The neighbors upstairs are loud, obnoxious, and have thousands of children; a never ending series of horrible noises that sound like bomb raids constantly threaten the fall of six year olds through the ceiling. Mariachi music haunts my dreams. Living on a major emergency route, I am constantly bombarded by deafening sirens and alarms that frequently remind me of death and crime.

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