CHICAGO — The 51st 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.

Jovencio de la Paz, Chicago, Illinois (site)


This studio is one the 10th floor of a building in downtown Chicago. It is one of many sites for my production, but recently this particular room has played an increasingly large role in my daily activities and my thinking in general.

It is a weaving workshop, a site that is traditionally and importantly a communal site of production, as opposed to the solitary studios we tend to be accustom to. On the particular day I took this image, it was just me and my assistant, up there at the front, but on most days I am just one in a turbulent sea of hand-weavers. The particular loom I’m sitting at was constructed around 1930, and it has places on its surface that have been worn away from generations of repetitive, skilled use.

My practice is fairly multifaceted. I work in installation, writing, performance, and sculpture. Weaving seems to make sense in all this. Cloth somehow sits nicely between lots of discourses. It is simultaneously two-dimensional and multidimensional.

Chenghun Chen, Los Angeles, California (site)

My studio is only 10’ x 12’. I paid a family friend to construct it for me. One of the walls leans outward at a 105-degree angle; it is perfect for me to put paper or canvas on to draw or paint. It’s just like an easel for me. The angled out wall and the curved ceiling makes the space feel much bigger than it actually is. By hanging hooks from the ceiling, it allows for the ideas of my drawings to spill over into three-dimensional space. It’s a space where I can reflect, congeal, and express.

Charles McCurry, Asheville, North Carolina (site)

With much of the raw materials, tools, and desk space (hollow door atop steel sawhorses) nearest the entrance, this highly organized studio also serves as an artist-in-residence space. Leaving a majority of this 600 sq. ft. space open allows guests to view and artists to alter their work in an installation setting.

Pamela Staker, Chicago, Illinois (site)

I have a large, bright, and airy studio, but I tend to like to work in this cozy corner of my workspace. Much of the rest of the space is dedicated to preparation and construction areas (I build and stretch all of my own canvases) and racks for storing the work and my tools. I prefer to have my canvases up on the wall or leaning upright while I work on them. This is also a practical matter as I have two dogs and three cats with full access to the studio and I prefer to keep their cute little paw prints out of the work.

I naturally work in series and almost always have at least three paintings or works on paper going at once. The space I work in has a tremendous effect on the work I do. My studio has high ceilings and a wall of glass block at the front and back ends — it’s a very breathable space and I think that is reflected in my work. I want the paintings to be energetic and full of movement and at the same time be easy to enter and move around in. If the compositions start to get too dense or claustrophobic I will work to edit and simplify the visual space. I am very interested in the paintings looking like they arrived at their finished point effortlessly regardless of the actual amount of work that went into each piece.

I think my studio space is organized in such a way that it helps me stay clean and focused on the work. I tidy up at the end of every work day and put all the tools back where they go so that when I start again the next day I don’t have to spend four hours looking for a hammer!

I can tell you that when I was younger my studio was a much more chaotic place. Now I have no interest in those kinds of working conditions — it’s like I’ve replaced that chaos with a cleaner type of energy that better serves me and the type of work I am interested in making.

David Solomon, Santa Fe, New Mexico (site)

On the back wall are pieces in progress. I like to have multiple oil paintings happening at once. To the back right is my palette table I built while working at a frame shop ten years ago. In front of the palette table are drawers with paints and brushes and a window with an exhaust fan. The left wall has steel and wood racks up top to store small and medium works. The table beneath is where I lay paintings flat for certain applications and make water-media on paper. There was a window on the back wall that I covered and I installed the track.

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Philip A Hartigan

Philip Hartigan is a UK-born artist and writer who now lives, works and teaches in Chicago. He also writes occasionally for Time Out-Chicago. Personal narratives (his own, other peoples', and invented)...