Welcome to the 209th installment of A View From the Easel, a series in which artists reflect on their workspace. Want to take part? Check out our submission guidelines and share a bit about your studio with us! All mediums and workspaces are welcome.
Ashley Chew, New York City
My studio doubles as my own personal gallery. Everything is very neat. I often collaborate with fashion brands here in New York City; so I like the space to be prepared for studio visits, interviews, and photo sessions of me and my work. I prefer to start each day decluttered and not frustrated by yesterday’s mess, literally.
As a BIPOC Woman artist, visibility is the foundation of my paintings. This is another reason I prefer to have my paintings visible and hanging high up on the walls. When someone walks past or into my studio, I want them to see that every subject in my work is visible, so the message of my work is communicated clearly. Open studios are the best. I try to create the space I needed to see growing up studying Fine Arts. I didn’t get the opportunity to visit or read about many BIPOC artists and women in charge of their own arts spaces. Times are changing, now I get to be a part of that change.
Angélica Turner, San Francisco, California
How happy it made me to open the curtains and face this glorious sunny day glowing over San Francisco’s Potrero Hill. It’s been a rainy winter in California. I moved to this studio from one without windows inside the same building because, aside from the need of a window for ventilation, I also needed to be connected to the outdoors.
What you are looking at is: in the middle, my table is divided in two: oils and a color palette in the left side of the table, and the “clean” area on the right side of the table, though they usually blend. Wall on the left hangs works in progress. On the wall on the right, canvases that will soon be works in progress as well. Between the table and the wall, a large painting made of 10 canvasses covered in old sheets to protect it from dust. My chair is doing what I was before I stood up: sunbathing, sometimes a luxury in this foggy city. Behind me, more artwork covered in sheets, shelves with books and supplies (the tidiest part of the studio), a ladder, and the door.
Now, back to work, before I have to pick up my baby from day-care.
Renee McGinnish, Chesterton, Indiana
This place where an artist spends so much time can be quite remarkable or quite humble. Mine is somewhere in between. It’s a recent buildout in my garage, a space probably intended for golf carts. It has high ceilings so I can raise large pieces on a “Classic Santa Fe II” easel. It costs nothing so I’m not spending my profits on studio space.
Installed on the floor are thick padded tiles [great for standing work]. In the corner are flat files where I lay my paint tubes on a pulled drawer. You can see three chairs, one is a western saddle. I used to ride horseback as a child and can recommend this type of seating for work. Physical comfort is paramount to acute concentration and changing your seat several times a session really helps. Not pictured is my desk and Mac. I listen to music, news, and podcasts, most recently I’m binging on Lex Fridman. He and his guests help us become more aware of the vast universe we all share.
Rona Conti, Belmont, Massachusetts
Pictured is my Japanese calligraphy studio. As an artist who began working in the mid 1960s, fresh out of college after a year of studying painting in Paris, the non-representational or abstraction was my point of departure and exploration. It was a heady time for abstract art, and while my influences were sometimes from nature, devoid of people, the vocabulary of my paintings was color in all of its glorious forms.
My series of acrylic striped paintings, based upon a process of letting paint drip down the raw canvas, then layering, building the overall image slowly and steadily until the whole was created, referenced calligraphy or calligraphic strokes, as one art critic in the 1980s mentioned at the time. After more than 50 years of being an artist, this seems now like a true vision into the future.
From the time I was in college I dreamed of going to Japan to study calligraphy. Thirty-five years later, in 1999, I began my study of calligraphy with Mieko Kobayashi Sensei of Gunma, Japan. I divided my time between Boston and Japan, living there for four years in segments. It was a life-changing process which continues to this day.
Carolyn Wirth, Stow, Massachusetts
This is my main work table with several current small projects. A sculptor who also needs to draw and make prints, I work in many different media: clay, wax, paper mache, wire, found objects, and household detritus. My main project now involves a paper-mâché head constructed over a chicken wire-and-detritus armature. I am sewing and felting many components of this piece, including felting and beading dryer lint, and spun cotton. Used aluminum foil is a precious resource since it’s lightweight and malleable. If I work on several projects at once I can stay in the studio longer without becoming restless.
To unwind I often make miniature rooms. These also help me think about interior spaces and how to stage my work. A miniature studio is barely visible. It has better light than my real studio and also a couch, so that I can inhabit it in my imagination when I need to relax.
What’s not visible in the picture is music, a necessary part of my practice. Right now I’m listening to Cream’s “Wheels of Fire.”
Jean Feinberg, Taghkanic, New York
My studio was the original cottage on my property in Taghkanic, New York. My first project was to keep it standing and able to function as my workspace rather than the crumbling building with four little rooms. It was a big project that included lots of demo, new roof and floor, and skylights. I use the far wall, visible here, as the main wall to look at work in progress or just finished. But I work horizontally on worktables. The mounted deer was found at auction for my drawing students at FIT, but is now back home! Much of my earlier work since moving to Taghkanic used pieces of the old wood that came out of this building and I continue to work with wood and on wood panels, but no longer ones that have the embedded history of this my first studio in the country.