Articles

A View from the Easel

CHICAGO — The 49th 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.

Diane Englander, New York City, New York (site)

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My studio is in the Garment District in the West 30s in Manhattan. It’s in a big elevator building with many other studios as well as fashion-related and other businesses, in which I know hardly anyone else, though I will talk to people in the elevator at the drop of a hat.

To the right is a wall of huge south-facing windows. I work at one of these two tables, usually the one on sawhorses, high enough for me to stand and not have to bend over to paint or draw. I work flat, gluing elements on and often rubbing the paint into the canvas or paper support.

The wall above the small bookcase towards the right is a space I pin pieces (such as the small white and red ones here) I am thinking about. When I run out of room there, which I usually do because I work on a number of pieces at the same time, I hang the works in progress among the pieces that at least for the moment I consider finished.

Out of sight on the left-hand wall is a small sofa where I read, stare into space, nap! Also out of sight is a wall unit that holds completed canvases, blank canvases, small wood or balsa-foam objects I’ve made that may be sculptures, and art books.

When I can’t seem to make anything, I read the essays that otherwise I never would succeed in reading. Right now, I’m reading John Elderfield’s essay in his catalogue of Diebenkorn drawings. I also use the art books to weigh down collaged elements, and that’s why there’s a stack of them towards the end of the sawhorse table.

JD Jarvis and Miriam Lozada, Las Cruces, New Mexico (site)

JD Jarvis studio

A converted bedroom full of books and wires serves as our digital art studio. My wife and I both create work on this computer and another located behind this view.

In the forefront at the lower left hand side is our HP Z3100 printer edging into the frame. We use it to materialize our digital art into fine art prints on paper or canvas. We also provide this printing service to other artists. This space has served as our digital art studio since 1994.

In another part of our home is a space for cutting, preparing and storing prints. We’re pretty settled in it, and it’s a great, comfortable place to work and manage our projects.

Hank Feely, Glen Arbor, Michigan

Feeley

“The studio is less important than other things like the burning desire to paint/create. If you don’t have this disease you can’t catch it from a nice studio.” —Warren Criswell.

Well, I sure agree with Mr. Criswell, but I paint just about every day. I paint big, I slop a lot of smelly oil paint, and I need a space to get away and get it done.

I designed my studio and built it with the help of a Quaker barn builder. It’s built of heavy white oak timber with pegs instead of nails. It is beautifully situated right on the shore of Lake Michigan right under the shadow of the Sleeping Bear Dune.

You can see that my easel is extra big to accommodate large work (I’ve painted a 10’x12′ canvas on this easel). The floor is a cement slab with hot water radiant heat pipes running through it (very economical). In front of the easel, on the floor, is an industrial rubber mat to save my feet, legs, and back from the pain of all day standing. My palette and all work tables are all on wheels to adjust for size and space.

If, as Mr. Criswell says, painting/creating is a disease, then I have the ideal operating room, not to cure the disease, but, rather, to invent new ways to promote it.

Stephen Eakin, Brooklyn, New York (site)

S_Eakin

The studio is filled with personal and precious objects, tucked away. Practically, I work often in wood. The dust gets everywhere, so I cover things and put them away. But I pull things out, see them, and display them. Then they hide and I work on new ones. I make art like I remember things, hiding, and accessing, alternating between activating the past and working in a present blank slate, figuring out how what came before becomes what happens now.

Sometimes I make a huge dusty, noisy racket and annoy people I share space with (so I rent a level under a motorcycle shop and a musician). Other times no one is there, and the relative quiet is too irresistible to do anything but be quiet.

Zak Timan, Richmond, California (site)

Zak Timan Studio

I make floating sculpture. Using buoyant materials such as cork, blown glass, hollow metal forms, and bird’s eggshells, I create compositions that float in clear, oil-filled glass vessels. The compositions’ elements are tethered to the vessel bottom with line or chain, suspending them in liquid space. My studio is my lab.

Inside various testing tanks, including a six-foot-tall glass column, I perform buoyancy and materials experiments. I have a torch for glass flame working, tools for sculpture fabrication, and a computer for 3-D modeling. It’s a little unusual to build glass parts to such precise dimensions, but I enjoy working in this way.

The human parts of my studio are my two remarkable shop-mates: one an LED engineer, and the other a pyrotechnics expert. Both are artists as well. We share a collection of machines and hand tools: a mill, a lathe, a CNC-plasma cutter, and many more. I love being around such wizards of science, engineering, and light. Every day they are working on something fresh and awe-inspiring.

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