Welcome to the 216th installment of A View From the Easel, a series in which artists reflect on their workspace. This week, artists drive their paintings across the country, mine the layered memories of abandoned spaces, move their easels around as they work, and embrace their studios’ orderly chaos.
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.
Sara Vanderbeek, the Interstate Highway System
Pop-up Show is a mobile exhibition project installed within and surrounding the pop-up camper in which I and my family lived and traveled during 2020–2022.
Sheltered during the pandemic, my partner and daughter drove thousands of miles and experienced an expansive but distant view of the country. The camper acted as a safety net, home, office, classroom, residency, and studio for us as America slid into an increasingly polarized political landscape of protests, climate crises, and a historic racial justice movement.
These expressive figurative fabric paintings cover most of the camper’s interior surfaces and hang outside, blowing in the breeze like laundry on clotheslines. The painting’s bright colors reference nature but also signal alarm and dissent. Visceral depictions of family, domesticity, and travel are contrasted with portraits embodying depression and anxiety, forests burning, and the endless media feed of tumultuous political news. The Pop-up Show tour is an active and evolving exhibition project that continues to pop up in the woods, galleries, residences, institutional grounds, and other locations connected to the continental interstate highway.
Bachrun LoMele, Badger, California
This is a view out the window from one end of my studio, an abandoned building in the California Sierra foothills which I partially restored and occupied starting 15 years ago. I use a generator for light, bring my own water, and use a wood stove for heat in the winter. The hillside out the window has been used as a dump for this immediate area, formerly a Synanon compound. I have been making use of the materials and shapes and stories and metamorphosing energies from these abandoned spaces in my work. Visible on the wall around the window are opened-up packaging shapes — a starting point for an art idea. I’ve been using glass shards from the broken windows of the surrounding buildings in my Broken Words pieces, which also utilize wall wordings from the abandoned, vandalized school rooms.
David Bender, Bushwick, Brooklyn
Here’s a picture of my Bushwick studio. It reflects the orderly chaos that defines my mental state. A friend used to describe his filing system as a “piling” system and I can relate. I suppose my system might be better described as Marie Kondo on acid.
Gabriele Grones, Prospect Lefferts Gardens, Brooklyn
I am a painter and visual artist. My painting practice is focused on a very rigorous and methodological process, creating mostly small-size works in oil on canvas. It is for this reason that — as you can see in the picture — my studio is a very simple white space. It faces South, therefore I have plenty of sunlight, necessary for my daily routine.
My studio fits me since I need a place without visual distractions, where I can focus on my practice listening to my favorite music. I spend the most part of the day sitting at the easel, working on a painting at a time. The easel has not a fixed position in the room: It moves as the light changes. The table instead is stable and it is essential since I need to keep my most recent works well displayed and visible all at once. This has been important to me overall in the last years, when my investigation has focused on studies on iconology and anthropology, creating installations of paintings where the relationships between different works propose unexpected connections among apparently distant elements.