Your art studio doesn’t have to be a gigantic freestanding building with roll up doors and it’s own kitchen and a guest room for visiting artist friends. It would be nice, but it doesn’t have to have be like that at all. It can be half of a rarely used dining room table or even a corner of a garage.
A studio of any size or place will work. Even though every studio I have ever seen is entirely different from one another, the most memorable ones, the ones that seem to generate the most engaging art all have one thing in common. They all really feel like the artists that work there. Studios are critically important for artists as they promote and even inspire the production of the art. They are far more than just a place where someone works. However, to function properly, they have to be made to feel a certain way.
The art studio is a place that when you arrive, visually, reminds you of yourself. In other words, your studio is filled with the visual evidence of you. (That is why visitors always find it the most interesting place in your home)
It is not an easy thing to make art that is authentic and personal. There are no previews really available. Yes we can all look at other’s art to kind of get an idea of where we might be heading artistically, but in the end our art will be different. So when you go into your studio, even if it is just a corner of a room, make sure the objects you place there, besides your art are things that inspire you. They actually can help you understand where your art is headed.
It might be a pale blue bottle you found washed upon a beach or a card someone you love gave you or even just a leaf. Make sure that the objects on the windowsill are curated by you. But whatever you see in your studio, whatever objects you place there, make sure it reminds you of what you love. They actually are all visual clues about your future art. They have to speak to you.
They have to remind you of you.
Selecting and placing objects in your studio, I believe is almost the same thing as placing a shape or color in a painting, or adding an element to a sculpture. Those decisions are critically important. If in that corner of the garage that you presently are working in right now has an ugly framed poster you don’t like or you don’t like enough to throw it away then at least move it outside your work area.
Be ruthless in your discernment of what is visually available in your studio.
Obviously you will have plenty of your art around but it is the other things too that you will be seeing every day that must be scrutinized.
Have a look at the objects surrounding you in your studio space and with each one, feel whether that object is clearly giving you an energetic lift or leaving you flat. If it is not clearly saying yes to you, then get rid of it.
This place you are staking out to do possibly the most challenging but meaningful and rewarding work of your life is in no small way, sacred. Really be a steward of its look and feel. When you arrive to make art, your studio should inspire and help you begin.
Thankfully, this place is not created by a committee. There is no permission needed from anyone to curate this space. There is only one person that can make this studio. It is also the same person who will make all the art that is derived from this place.
It is you.
How does your studio feel to you? Do you have something in your studio that needs to go?