Welcome to the 212th installment of A View From the Easel, a series in which artists reflect on their workspace. In honor of Pride Month, we invited queer artists to share reflections, in which they create a studio wherever their travels take them, explore portraiture as a means of empowerment, carve out a safe space as they create, and consider the power of intergenerational memory.
Want to take part? Check out our submission guidelines and share a bit about your studio with us! All mediums and workspaces are welcome, including your home studio.
Jamie John, Traverse City, Michigan
This is the view I see when working at the table I have pushed up against my bed on the floor of my studio. This means that my studio space and living space have always been one and the same. Growing up with insecure housing meant learning to be a resourceful artmaker, someone who could make something out of nothing. Even still, being a working class artist who faces housing insecurity means that I’ve developed a way to create and take some form of my work anywhere.
Art has been a part of my life since the passing of my maternal grandfather, Raymond John, when I was 6 years old. It was after his passing that my mother placed me in a children’s art therapy and gardening group at the Traverse City district library. It was from this point on that art of all mediums became a way for me to communicate my lived experience as queer and trans Anishinaabe and Korean-American person while keeping myself grounded by working with ideas of ancestry, historical memory, and cultural loss. Sometimes this is reflected in a poem, a watercolor painting, a block print, a film or a zine.
Melanie Delach, Ridgewood, New York
My studio is my safe space. As a gay woman, it’s a constant thought about what a safe space means. This relates to the environments I create in my work called placeless spaces. This place is new to me- vast, full of possibility, and safe for any to enter. My studio is located in Ridgewood, Queens, in a vibrant building of creatives. I’m most creative early in the morning around 7am to 12pm, or evening 7pm onward. The studio has been many things for me a corner of a room, a table in my kitchen, a closet in my apartment, and I’m happy to have been able to expand to a place where I can be endlessly messy and creative.
Alma Landeta, Root Division in San Francisco, California
June is a beautifully busy time for me as a queer artist and educator. I’m simultaneously wrapping up the school year with students, showing work in various Pride exhibitions, and attempting to carve out my own time to celebrate queer resilience. My studio is a reflection of this abundance with notes of encouragement and installation blueprints stuck to the wall, while in-process portraits are all around. In this image you can see a few of the portraits I’ve been working on as a part of a series in collaboration with my queer and trans community. Portraiture has been a way for me to uplift and honor individuals. Each new work in this series begins with a conversation between me and the individual I’m about to paint in which we explore the question, What does it look like to feel at home and empowered in your body?
Prima Sakuntabhai, Anywhere
Being on the road, whether physically, through books, memories or imagination, disrupts my research-heavy practice and brings about unexpected turns and discoveries. While currently based in LA, I am interested in sieving for parallel histories from Thai political history, where I come from, the influence of French critical and revolutionary thought, with which I grew up and immigrant Asian communities I am surrounded by and their place in the shaping of the United States.
Through these divergent narratives, I attempt to shift our understanding of place, memory and history from unique and fixed to plural, fluctuant and in relation to larger global networks.