Articles

A View from the Easel

CHICAGO — The 25th installment of a series (Part 123456789101112,  1314151617181920212223, 24) in which artists send in a photo and a description of their workspace.

Want to take part? You can peruse the submission guidelines here.

Mark Acetelli, Memphis, Tennessee (site)

My studio is in an old pre-Civil War two story building from 1845. My daily routine varies from day to day. I try to get in there around 10:30am and work till about 5pm. My day will consist of prepping canvas, building stretcher bars, studying my works from the previous day, and of course painting. I use primarily oil, and cold wax medium. To apply the paint I use a bit of an unorthodox method of rags, spatula, hands, and brushes. mixed with charcoal, oil sticks, and sometimes found objects pushed into the paint to give the canvas texture.

I usually try to work on two or three paintings at the same time. Once I get a rhythm and build a theme, I’ll work on them till the light runs out. The building itself has a rich history of being many things. There was a civil war battle that this structure went through and you can see pock marks in the front of the building where bullets hit during the battle. It was also a shoe store, and a lawyer’s office in the 1920s. Interesting stuff for someone like me who only has lived in a big city.

Erin McGuire, Chicago, Illinois (site)

My studio space is located in the basement of my apartment building in Chicago. The floors are cement, with large beautiful cracks in them, and creepy bugs that surprise me occasionally. I can only work (well) during nighttime, because I am convinced the darkness helps me to think more clearly, as well as because of bouts of insomnia that occur.

I work on approximately five to seven paintings simultaneously, since oil takes longer to dry, and also so there is less pressure on just a single painting. Loud, atmospheric music accompanies my painting practice, since no one can hear me (singing), but every so often I like to have complete silence.

There are many colorful tubes of oil paint, innumerable tubes of white, disposable palettes on top of brown sheets of paper, all scattered on the floor in front of the painting I’m currently agonizing over. I can then semi-easily move the brown paper around to a different piece. My works aren’t on easels, but instead lean against a wall propped on the floor. Some lean in front of older paintings (as space permits).

I recently began sitting on a white bucket while working or thinking or staring at a painting, but still enjoy sitting on cement floor quite often. A slop sink in the basement (not viewable by the photograph) to wash out the oil paint from my messy brushes, completes the transformation of the space from an unfinished basement into a functional studio.

Jeff Davis, Tempe, Arizona (site)

Being a digital artist, my studio is my laptop. My current art-making tools are Microsoft Excel, Adobe Illustrator, and Adobe Photoshop. I start by using Excel to generate randomization within a compositional framework. Then I use Illustrator to build compositions based on the Excel data. The Rectangle Tool, Color Panel, and I have become good friends over the years. Finally, I use Photoshop to scale and prepare the images for print production. And of course, no studio is complete without iTunes providing a working soundtrack.

Calvin Pennix, Mission Viejo, California (site)

This is the Lab — my place for creation and inspiration. I attempt to keep myself surrounded by inspiration: a basketball, Miles, family, Bruce, music constantly playing, and of course, my own work. I work predominantly in acrylic, watercolor, and spray paint. I like the interaction amongst the three.

My works come in various sizes, in various shapes and on various surfaces, such as canvas, paper, and wood. The shapes of the surfaces I work on are always changing. This is my own commentary — and deconstruction of — containment. Some pieces need to be freed of the four “walls.” I work in expressionism, at times abstract, but always expressionism.

I hit the Lab at night, after the workday is done and my wife and daughter are fast asleep. The first thing I do is turn on music, then I browse my favorite places on the web, check out some videos of studio visits to get inspired, then I’m up and running. Every night I’m in the lab for about four hours — not always a very productive four hours though. I work in total isolation, although I encourage visits to The Lab at anytime; we are open 24 hours a day.

Alex Bierk, Toronto, Canada (site)

My studio is on the top floor of an old sock factory. I have plywood floors, high ceilings and big open warehouse windows. I paint from source images using a grid on a makeshift easel I use to keep everything at eye level.

I use a panel with screws in it on my easel for smaller pieces. You can see the remnants of painter’s tape I use to the sides of whatever I’m working on. My paint, and medium, and brushes are all at arms length. Behind my painting station I do all my prep-work, including stretching and priming canvas and linen and gridding out my source material.

 

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