This is the 200th installment of A View From the Easel, a series in which artists send in a photo and a description of their workspace. Want to take part? Please submit your studio! Just check out the submission guidelines.
Vadis Turner, Nashville, Tennessee
After living in NYC for fifteen years, I moved to my hometown of Nashville, TN in 2014. My studio is the lower level of my grandparent’s former home in the countryside. I came to this place from the hospital after I was born. I come here now, with gratitude, to create my work. It feels like an especially important time to make art in a Red state.
I transform domestic materials into abstract wall works and sculpture. I use a lot of textiles, think used bedsheets, and manipulate them so that they transcend their intended function, contradict their structural nature and betray previous expectations. This image shows recent work made with retired curtains, resin and driveway gravel. The floor is sticky and littered with corsage pins. The cabinets still have my grandfather’s poker chips in the back. Unlike my Brooklyn studio, I have windows ……..and heat.
Leeanna Chipana, Central Islip, Long Island, New York
When COVID hit I left my Brooklyn apartment and moved back to my hometown in Central Islip, Long Island. I converted part of the living room into a small studio. In the photo you will see that I have a black wrap-around curtain attached to the ceiling to separate the studio from the living room. This curtain sort of creates a little cave for me to work in. My partner and I converted the garage into a wood shop. Because of the wood shop we were able to build custom canvas racks and an online teaching desk. I also have a crank easel which I love. Because the town I am in is predominantly South and Central American indigenous families and because the space is so intimate and small I found myself getting up close and personal with my work which themes around my own indigenous identity, what came of it was a series of portraits of indigenous women.
Alyson Champ, Saint-Chrysotome, Quebec, Canada
For me, the pandemic has been a period of change. My mother died shortly before our first lockdown. Around the same time, I received funding to create my very first installation project. My already disrupted life became even more disrupted when COVID hit. For the first six months of 2020 I felt unmoored. While my studio was still a refuge from the world and its problems, it had also become a place of uncertainty: What kind of artist was I? Did I even know what I was doing? Was this new work any good? Would anyone ever see it? I have spent the past two years trying to answer these questions, or at the very least trying to learn to live with ambiguity. My workspace is a fifteen by thirty-foot renovated garage on our farm in southwestern Quebec. The photo shows my first steps moving beyond painting into making found-object sculpture and assemblages. The installation project, now near completion, also incorporates sound. The past two years have been difficult and disorienting, but for me they have also been a time of productivity and creative growth, for which I am deeply grateful every time I open my studio door.
Steven Baris, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
The artworks in this image were created during this seemingly endless era of the pandemic. Most are paintings on different substrates such as canvas, plexiglass, and Mylar, but included in this image is one of many in-studio installations of stacked, barely balanced cinder blocks. This and other stacks have been both a response to and a generator of the paintings. The series title of most of these pieces is “Toppling,” which I feel offers a perfect analog to the profound disequilibrium we are experiencing both privately and institutionally. I liken each artwork to a freeze-frame of a film sequence at the precise inflection point when a building, a body, a psyche, or a society begins to succumb to gravity.