This is the 188th installment of a series in which artists send in a photo and a description of their workspace. In light of COVID-19, we’ve asked participants to reflect on how the pandemic has impacted their studio space and/or if their work process has changed while quarantining. Want to take part? Please submit your studio! Just check out the submission guidelines.
Esther Pearl Watson, Los Angeles, California
I used to work at our dining room table for many years. As a mom and a caregiver it’s hard to get much done at home, so I moved to a proper studio space almost two years ago. It is a large building with 20 other artists; we each have our own private spaces.
My studio has lots of nooks and crannies in which I tuck art supplies to keep the room large and open. I always paint in the mornings so the large windows flood the room with California sunlight.
When the pandemic hit, I ended up going every morning.
Usually the big walls inspired large works, but during quarantine I painted small, intimate records of what I saw on my drive to the studio. I felt an urgent need to document my family’s daily anxieties and absurdities during this unusual time.
At first, I would lay out the paintings on the tabletops, then begin to cluster them on the wall, and soon clusters of months began to grow around the space. It was important to have a separate space away from home, in which I could focus, then step back and let the work speak. I painted over 100 diary paintings that are now on exhibition at Vielmetter Los Angeles.
Carris Adams, Houston, Texas
I relocated to Houston, TX in the fall of 2019 after almost seven years in Chicago, Illinois. I moved for the heat, closer access to friends and family, and, honestly, cheaper living. The “dining nook” of my apartment (which reportedly can hold a table and four seats) was meant to be my temporary studio space. After six months in Houston, my apartment became my studio, gym, spa, dancehall, movie theater, experimental restaurant, and office. I adopted the mindset that this was a self-funded residency, but now it is becoming a way of life. I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to be in a studio space that is not attached to my home again. While the pandemic has slowed down many lives, it has provided more introspection for myself and my work. This space is where the paint is mixed, applied, and sanded. This space is where marks are made. This space is where I answer student emails and my supervisor’s requests. With incense burning, a podcast playing, tea brewing, and house slippers on, this space is where I make work for whatever the future holds.
Michelle Lisa Herman, Washington, DC
My basement is now both my primary studio space and my home office for teleworking for my day job as a webmaster. I have had to be creative about making sure each area can serve multiple functions.
At the beginning of lockdown, I moved the majority of my materials home from my studio and quickly realized I needed to reorganize to make space for it. Doing that gave me the opportunity to design a space that works better for me now than it had before. Building a new storage system allowed me to open up a corner that I didn’t have access to before. I gave this ‘nook’ a magnetic paint job so that it can quickly transform from a workspace, inspiration board, and mind-mapping area into a 2-D or 3-D documentation space in minutes.
Because COVID-19 prevented me from accessing previous fabrication facilities, I purchased a low-cost 3-D resin printer which has become invaluable for my recent work. The egress window makes it possible to use the printer (not to mention a welcome source of natural light). So, I’ll have to add digital fabrication space to the list of uses for my basement now!
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