Articles

A View from the Easel

CHICAGO — The 47th installment of a series in which artists send in a photo and a description of their workspace.

Want to take part? Submit your studio — just check out the submission guidelines.

Stacey Wexler, Los Angeles, California (site)

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What was once a perfume factory and warehouse in the 1930s became a loft complex and the home to my creativity. Although I’ve been a practicing professional artist for over 20 years, I’ve only been in this space since July 2010, and I’m just starting to get truly connected to my artistic flow in this place. It’s located on the second floor of this building, which was converted back in the 1980s into an artist loft complex with 74 units. Even though the space is located in downtown Los Angeles, between the wholesale produce markets and the industrial wasteland that is Vernon, it has the unique ability to seem tranquil in the midst of this pulsating metropolis.

The space I use for work is kept to one side of this 1,200sq ft loft area. It has exposed brick along the back wall, massive oak post and lintel construction with old hardwood floors, and plenty of natural light streaming through the original metal frame windows. I was fortunate that it was move-in ready and I just needed to assemble some essentials for my artwork to start happening. I constructed the well-used worktable and large easel for my mixed media projects, which start as drawings but sometimes morph into large, more dimensional constructions. I enjoy using a variety of materials, which I keep stored on the industrial-shelving units towards the back corner of the workspace. My work table houses my small hand tools kept in sliding drawers. That and my easel are the main components to my work environment. Everything about my space deals with smart organization and efficient use of space. So the worktable and the large power tools are on wheels and the easel is magnetic. No pinholes in my drawings, I like that. Besides the shelving towards the back of the space for materials, I constructed hanging wood shelving in the odd corner areas around the loft for the growing collection of art books. Having designated areas for art materials, construction, and research means that I’m not spending a lot of time trying to find what I need it’s just there.

As for the work, it’s an on-going festival of material expression, delight and/or failure. However, being in downtown Los Angeles with art events, a consortium of neighbors (both in the complex and on the streets) and delicious sounds propels my imagination.

Arabella Proffer, Cleveland, Ohio (site)

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I work out of a hundred-year-old Templar automobile factory. It’s actually still a working factory with huge windows and views of brick smoke stacks from my second floor space (that I share with a fiber artist), but now it makes screw parts.

After over a decade in Los Angeles working from my dining room, I have the space and concrete floors to go bigger, and yet I still keep my canvas and panel sizes on the smaller side. I now work on multiple pieces at once, and have the space to get a little messy and let things go. The best part of not working from home? No cat hair getting stuck in the paintings!

Tehos, Monaco (site)

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I have created more than 3,000 artworks in this space, thinking, working, searching each night. It is a kind of chaos where I find my inspiration, a kind of war between me and me.

Danny Rose, Dallas, Texas, (site)

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My studio is located in the attic of an old church. On walks through the city I would imagine looking out of its stained rose window, watching clouds and cars. It wasn’t until years later that I found myself in conversation with the owner and its inhabitants, who are all artists.

I took this photo in the early morning light, when the sun is in alignment with the window. The light fills the entire attic, casting light on my worktable and working wall (not seen). Cleaning my studio after each project is important to my process, allowing me to step into a new and clean space.

Some of my best moments in the studio are right before the act of making. That moment when all the energies are in place, and all you have to do is move.

Kevin Mclean, Charleston, South Carolina (site)

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This is my perpetually cluttered 9’x10′ space. I just graduated in May and got to work revamping the room. I installed lots of shelves to hold my budding collection of tools and materials, and I built a workbench on the right (not fully visible) where I tinker with sculptures and electronics. On the far left, a 7’x4′ birch panel fastened to the wall provides a smooth surface to draw on and doubles as my painting area. The middle of my room functions like the control center or brain of my studio with my laptop and small library. I read a lot and find much of my inspiration from the books on those shelves, while my laptop feeds tunes to my surround sound system keeping me “in the zone.”

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