Welcome to the 210th installment of A View From the Easel, a series in which artists reflect on their workspace. In this special edition, students at Ohio University and UC Davis give us a glimpse into their journeys working towards an MFA, from the gift of learning in community to pushing their practices to new heights.

Want to take part? Check out our submission guidelines and share a bit about your studio with us! All mediums and workspaces are welcome.

Fatima Taylor, Ohio University

Ever since childhood, I have been attracted to human forms. I have been particularly drawn to portraiture paintings because of their potential emotional impact. In this picture, I have included a panoramic view of my studio at my residence in Columbus, Ohio. One of my most recent paintings on an 8-by-10-foot canvas is attached to the wood-paneled wall on the left side. Buckets of acrylic paint are positioned on the floor. Directly in front of the viewer is a drafting table with a magnifying lens light that I frequently use to create small, intricate drawings. Above the drafting table, a self-portrait I painted from my childhood photo reminds me of my artistic journey. Adjacent to the drafting table is a bookcase featuring some of my art books and a charming teapot collection. Further down, a full-figure mannequin dressed in traditional Uzbek folk garb adds to the studio’s eclectic vibe. As a former fashion designer, dressing up my mannequin for amusement comes naturally to me. Finally, on the right side of the studio, you will find my oil painting on the easel. The right side of my studio is solely dedicated to oil painting. 

Christopher St. John, Ohio University

This is the view of my grad school ceramics studio at Ohio University. The spaces are long, and I generally do my hand-building work on this table behind a window. I have been in a good place in my practice as I end my second year and my ceramic work gets more ambitious in terms of scale and scope. The rabbits have been welcome friends back into my life. I like this view because it shows a moment of transition, moving from the end of my second year and into my third year when I will create the body of work for my thesis exhibition next spring. 

Grace Worley, Ohio University

My studio space is located at the Ridges in Athens, Ohio, a university-owned repurposed psychiatric hospital that was built in the 1860s. This space is one of the larger studio spaces and it is shared with a peer in my MFA program at Ohio University. I have lots of wall space to hang my work both for display and to work on. My work takes on large formats, so this comes in handy to keep my space relatively organized! The windows you see in this space provide the most amazing view of southern Ohio sunsets and, having 24-hour access to my studio, I often see the entire day pass by out those windows which provides me the ability to connect to the environment I live within in Athens as it relates to my practice as an artist.

Justine Di Fiore, University of California, Davis

I’ve occupied all sorts of studios, from sections of basements and bedrooms to a 400-square-foot space in a converted appliance factory. In all cases my studio has been a solitary place where I have spent hours on end. I am a process-based artist. I find new ideas from working with and handling materials. Currently, I am in the MFA program at the University of California, Davis. I am incredibly grateful to be able to use this beautiful workspace during my time here. It’s footsteps away from an arboretum and across the parking lot from the Art Building where I work as a TA. This space is where I’ve synthesized all the rich dialogue with faculty, lecturers, staff, visiting artists, curators, and the amazing Art Studio undergrad community. The size of this space has allowed me to continue to increase the scale of my work which involves using big gestural movements in the application of paint. My experience of caregiving through my past career as a hospital nursing assistant has informed how I make marks and construct the body. What you see is where I am in the process of developing paintings for my final thesis review and exhibition.

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Lakshmi Rivera Amin

Lakshmi Rivera Amin (she/her) is a writer and artist based in New York City. She currently works as Hyperallergic's editorial coordinator.

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