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This is the 197th 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.
Ali Kouri, Montreal, Canada
Since the pandemic, I’ve had to merge both my art and music studios. And it’s all in my apartment. It gets messy really quickly, and I’m still trying to navigate my space. I’m someone who likes to (needs to) move around, and my studio doesn’t always allow me the liberties of doing so. But I make do, and I can’t deny the convenience of having everything in one space, especially during a pandemic.
The good thing about this merge is that I find my practices have become more in unison with one another. I’ve always considered myself to be an interdisciplinary artist, and now it really feels like my mediums are working with each other. My paintings seem to carry a melodic flow, my music has become more visual, and on top of it all I’m currently working on a series that encompasses both my practices. That’s probably not something I would have done pre-pandemic.
Greg Piwonka, Austin, Texas
I was frantically building out the inside of this new studio when the pandemic was starting. Our second son was born at home on the day Austin went into lockdown. My old studio in the house is now the baby’s room. I finished this new space a week before he arrived. So much change happened all at once: new baby, new studio, one kid out of school, no childcare, Zoom school, chaos, just having a space to go and work was a mental life saver. I’ve been working in this studio now for a year, so it feels less new, it’s broken in, I’m comfortable in this space now. It’s a place I go after I cook dinner and my wife and kids are asleep and I work at night in quiet solitude. If my studio wasn’t at home I would never get any work done. The studio feels like an extension of my home and with that issues and objects from my home enter: fatherhood, marriage, plants, lamps, tables, patterns from rugs and textiles become flattened and abstracted in the paintings. My studio is personal, it’s a place to process ideas and the world.
April Hickox, Toronto, Canada
During the COVID-19 pandemic my world got smaller. I abandoned my studio in Toronto for my home on Wards Island. Surrounded by the largest green space in the city, this small, car-free community is located less than one mile from the city core. Every day during lockdown I recorded a Groyne, a structure that runs perpendicular to the shoreline to prevent erosion. The Groyne and view of Lake Ontario became a place of compilation and healing as I watched the seasons and waters ebb and flow. With weather and water level as variables, I visually witnessed the effects of reduced air pollution and a shifting landscape. Embracing this lack of control, the experience helped me imagine time, and place myself within it as an active observer.
The digital files of the Groyne sit on my home computer, evidence of a period of suspension as witnessed in the images. My studio at the water’s edge helped me focus and stay in tune with the world as time stretched and compressed in unfamiliar ways. It gave me the freedom to question what is ‘wild,’ my evolving relationship to urban green spaces, and how I live my life. The artworks and remote studio represent a reflection of my life in isolation.