Author Topic: Why do you want an art studio?  (Read 8879 times)

Offline Jesse

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Why do you want an art studio?
« on: July 10, 2006, 09:59:40 PM »
We receive a fair amount of emails from artists new to the DC metro area.  One of the most popular concerns is related to studio space. Many people are looking for affordable well lit corners to produce art at an affordable rent.  Studios are vital to art production.  After working in our art studio for the past 6 months or so, I can only say it has really allowed me to push further forward and develop my own creative energy in directions that might not been possible at home.  Though many artists still wish that they could live in their studios! 

That said, we have been working hard to try and develop several studio spaces, in which there has been strong interest, yet less than as many responses as we'd like from people with a check in their hand saying yes!  Let's make a studio.  We want to know why you want a studio!  Why are studios important!  What does it mean to have a space that's not your basement, closet, or bathroom darkroom where you trip, and step in the fixer before a date, and your significant other wants to know why you smell like vinegar.

Most artist's that I've met who have an actual studio in DC seem to have a strong passion.  Studios are hard to find, and can be costly, so it must be that  these individuals simply push hard or got lucky.  We like to think for us, our studio experience is a bit of both.

We would like to hear a few personal thoughts about why you want or already have a studio, that's not your living space.  What should we develop studio for you?  If you already have one, why do you have a studio.  Let's get personal.  Tell us an example about your use of your space.  What's most important to have?

We look forward to your thoughts!
« Last Edit: October 02, 2006, 03:27:19 PM by Jesse »

Offline Erin Antognoli

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Re: Why do you want an art studio?
« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2006, 08:09:50 AM »
i woud love to have a darkroom and a place to set up lights or scenes if necessary.  most of my work (at least right now) is on location, but it's nice to have the option of a studio.  after all, who knows what i'll be doing in a couple of years with regard to my art.  i tend to go through phases with my media and approach.  :smt004 

that being said, i have a darkroom in baltimore, and would love something closer that i could work in any day i wanted without having to plan a major excursion to get me and all of my stuff there.  i love the artdc studio that you and steve and antoinette have set up, but it is just as much of a hike as my baltimore darkroom, so there's no reason for me to move everything.  plus i'd rather drive to balti than thru dc!  the problem - finding studio space in montgomery county is pretty much hopeless.  so baltimore it is... at least for now.

it would be nice to have more room for the mixed media though.  painting, assemblage, etc.  luckily i don't have children, because i have taken over all extra space in our house with my stuff and they'd have nowhere to sleep!

i don't know that this helps much.  if i lived in dc, i'd definitely be all over studio space down there.  i'd love to be able to spread out a bit and take on projects of larger sizes, and also to have that sense of community that is oh so lacking out here in the burbs...


Offline enajer

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Re: Why do you want an art studio?
« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2006, 08:52:07 AM »
I have a studio space in my basement.  It's were the easel and paints/brushes, stained clothes, photo, pictures, etc. are. It's also where the keyboards/amp/mixer are in case I feel a case of "Basement Tapes" coming on. I don't paint in my kitchen because I need to have a separate, defined space where I can disconnect from the daily grind and focus, intently, on making art. This basement space is like a church. No one else in the family comes into this space. They understand that this is "Daddy's Playhouse".  I can crank the music up to 11 and go crazy and no one else in the house needs to be too disturbed. They know that Dad is "working" on something.

I am happy to make pictures anywhere. But the studio is the place where I come to face myself.
enaje (lower case)

Offline Jesse

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Re: Why do you want an art studio?
« Reply #3 on: July 11, 2006, 09:31:52 AM »
Erin! Yes!
Jim, Yes!

That's exactly how I feel about it! Not only is it a geographic location to create, it's a location that allows you to access the spiritual center of your creativity.  You can crank your stereo and let your outside world go and get to work!

Artdc, what else?  What are all of your personal expereinces.  In addition to all the above, what is studio life like for you? How do you use your studios.

Offline Alchemy

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Re: Why do you want an art studio?
« Reply #4 on: July 12, 2006, 02:04:16 PM »
Jesse, studio space is what we all so desperately need.  Here in Silver Spring we're designated as an "Arts and Entertainment District" yet it's hard to find any space that artists can use.  Right now I represent 115 artists here at Alchemy and have requests from over 200 people to take classes taught by artists.  We also need space for drum circles...the list goes on and on and what's scary is that the more redevelopment encroaches, the less chance we have to secure any viable space.  We need to come together and create a voice that is heard in the public arena.  Personally, my studio space is my dining room table (my family is used to eating meals wherever there's a clear space in the house, thank goodness!).  I use my table to draw, paint, do collages, etc and I love it when no one is home and I can play the music I want to listen to!  I used to do my handbuilding at Glen Echo in a shared studio space but don't have the time to go there any more and that means I haven't been able to do clay work in almost 2 years.  That is such a huge loss to me -- the community and friends you make in those environments is amazing.  I think it would be prudent to get a focus on how to engage the media and the business community in respecting artists.  I don't have a suggestion on how to do that but am willing to join in a discussion if it is one that moves forward.  Thanks for doing Art DC -- it's nice to see it growing so nicely!  Peace...Brenda Smoak, Alchemy, www.artandalchemy.com
Alchemy shows and sells the work of local artists. Check out our web site: www.artandalchemy.com for details about the store and the montlhy Second Saturday outdoor artists market.

Offline brianh

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Re: Why do you want an art studio?
« Reply #5 on: July 12, 2006, 03:04:28 PM »
I used to paint in my basement (when I had one), but it was far from ideal. As an oil painter, light and ventilation are big deals. And the physical environment makes a difference too. My basement was far from ideal - dark, poorly ventilated and damp. And the smell of the various paints and chemicals inevitably permeated the rest of the house.

For a while, I shared a studio in the same building you (Jesse and Steve) are in, on New York Ave. That was fantastic good light, windows that open, and a decent amount of floor and wall space that was dedicated ONLY to creating art. I could get paint on the floor or the walls (or sink, or door handle, or table...) without worrying about it. When I was there, that's what I was doing. I was hoping for a bit more community I really only spoke to the other artists in the building a few times at most over the year I was there. But it was nice the times I did. Pooling resources to promote open studio days a couple times a year was good too. The drawback was that it took some effort to get there, and it cost money.

In some ways, I think separate studio space is sort of a self-fulfilling prophecy you rent or buy space for a place to focus your energies, and because you've actually PAID for it, you make a point of using it well and often. I think it made a substantial difference in my work.

I'm lucky I'm in a new home studio now, with great light and great ventilation (I actually had a venilation fan built in), but it takes more discipline to use it in the same way. Distractions are close at hand, and enforcing boundaries (nicely) with the significant other is a challenge.

I agree about Silver Spring the only way I could afford the space in downtown Silver Spring that I'm in was to sell my house and move into this smaller space that included a studio.

One thing people should keep in mind is that grants (e.g., DC Commission on Arts & Humanities) can help pay for studio rental if you can get one!

Offline hmsart

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Re: Why do you want an art studio?
« Reply #6 on: July 12, 2006, 03:27:30 PM »
When I moved to the DC area (I live in Greenbelt) I was lucky enough to find a condo that has an extra room (dining room) that I've turned into a gallery.  I think that the most important thing for me in terms of studio (besides $$$) is accessibility.  I want the space to be as close as possible. 

Offline Jesse

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Re: Why do you want an art studio?
« Reply #7 on: July 12, 2006, 03:57:48 PM »
That's reasonable. Location makes it easier to work when you have the need to do so.  Next, artdc.org, tell us about what your studios have done for you.  I would like to also hear about personal experiences in your studio.  A day in the life of your studio.
« Last Edit: July 12, 2006, 04:03:49 PM by Jesse »

Offline Erin Antognoli

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Re: Why do you want an art studio?
« Reply #8 on: July 12, 2006, 05:04:41 PM »
well, when i'm in my darkroom, it's an all day affair. and when i mean all day, i mean 8 hours minimum, maybe more if i don't collapse first. i really need that amount of time to get into the swing of things, and with darkroom work, setup and cleanup are a big part of the time, and so i don't want to set up, only print for an hour and then clean up because it's a huge waste of time. once i get the rhythm down, i can work more efficiently, at least until i start to get sloppy from being tired, and then i know it's time to quit for the day.

my setup: i have an 8 foot sink, film loading closet, really super nice big omega enlarger with 3 lenses, and nice (clean) print drying racks.  also misc. supplies that i need like static wisks, glass for printing the holga images, a variety of sized printing easels and developing trays, filters, bunches of other random things..,

having your own space, or even a limited shared space where you get to pick or approve your studio mates, that you don't have to share with others on a large scale is soooo nice because you can set everything up the way you want it that makes sense for your workflow, and don't have to worry about that additional setup or break in the flow if you are working and find that someone misplaced something that you constantly use. working in a gang darkroom means you have to worry that someone might break the equipment, contaminate the chemicals, put something dirty on the drying racks or put a print in your wash 5 minutes to the end of the wash... not to mention you can't leave your personal stuff there because it could get broken, stolen, or "borrowed". even if they have lockers, you can only fit so much in there before you have to start carrying all that crap around with you, and that's not good for the supplies or for your back! it's just a big headache.

my only complaint, as i mentioned before, is that my darkroom is so far. i really wish i had something closer that didn't take over an hour to get to. maybe someday i'll have a house with a basement, and then i'll move it in with me... someday...
« Last Edit: July 12, 2006, 05:09:39 PM by Halo »

Offline Jesse

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Re: Why do you want an art studio?
« Reply #9 on: February 01, 2007, 02:57:34 PM »
All good replies!  Let's revisit this topic!  I need to read more!  Why do you want a studio?

Offline jwhitsitt

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Re: Why do you want an art studio?
« Reply #10 on: February 01, 2007, 03:25:27 PM »

FLUX left my apartment completely devestated. Usually, since I do -not- have an "art space" aside from living space (studio apartment thats not big enough to have different areas for living/artmaking), I can only work on one piece at a time for limited durations of time...which severely limits my creativity and focus. The world around me is a distraction and the art space clutters up the world around me in return. To pull off the install at flux, though, I had to use my apartment as I would an art studio....but the cramped space meant cardboard was left on the floor literally from end to end. You could start walking from the kitchen across the room to the front door just by stepping on various art materials.  The cats were covered in pastels, tables were shoved into normally open spaces, and our life at home was in complete disarray. There just wasn't any "clean" or "organized" way to handle all that stuff in the same place we lived. With a studio, there just aren't so many conflicting interests for a space...That kind of mess is fine for one project...but to consistently create art in the kind of expressive way I need, only a studio space will do.

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Offline angelakleis

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Re: Why do you want an art studio?
« Reply #11 on: February 01, 2007, 07:11:55 PM »
I"m still cleaning up crap I left lying around getting ready for the flux show.  Having studio space would definitely allow me to work in one place and then leave.  Kinda like using the library to study in college...never in the dorm.  Wait...study?

Offline eaglemar

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Re: Why do you want an art studio?
« Reply #12 on: February 11, 2007, 11:43:38 AM »
The reason I would like to have a live in studio is that at this time in my life.  A live in studio will provide me with a place to conduct my business and continue my daily activities.  I find myself that everytime I rearrange my studio before starting a series of work.  That would simplify my life.   

Offline J. L. Grillo

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Re: Why do you want an art studio?
« Reply #13 on: February 12, 2007, 12:54:54 PM »
I live in a tiny 1-bedroom apartment on Capitol Hill. When my wife and I are at home there really isn't enough room for the two of us to setup and work (she - college thesis materials, laptop, notebooks; me - cutting mat, cardboard, colored pencils). Because of this space crunch, one of us usually ends up watching the other work. ( ' ~ ')... That kind of environment, doesn't make me feel good about doing the art that I love, because it puts a strain on the lady I love - I can't get over the selfish feeling that I have when I think about taking over the living room every night or weekend. I want her to be comfortable in her own home.

There are times when I really wish I had more room, but I cannot afford to rent a studio of my own. It's a catch22 really - I would have the extra money to pay for a studio if I could create and sell a collection of artwork - & - I would have a collection of art work to sell if I had the studio space to make that art a reality. I have only completed one piece since I've been living in my current apartment... and I'm not exaggerating. It's not as if I've done things that I just don't like so I'm not counting them or anything - I seriously haven't been able to give myself time to make completed pieces - there is a mass of half-way work, most of which is on hold because I need more space and I'm waiting for it to get warmer outside so I can set up a folding table in the back yard. (^_^)

I've got huge reasons to want a studio, and the biggest one being that I honestly believe that I could make a decent living ($$) if I were to have the space to work.

Offline D. Jean-Jacques

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Re: Why do you want an art studio?
« Reply #14 on: February 12, 2007, 11:32:37 PM »
Man John and I pretty much have a mirror situation when it comes to a studio!  :biggrin: I would LOVE to have bigger space, but for some reason i like my setup, it's not too big, could be a little bigger, but to me it's JUST right (wow..that was a GOLDILOCK moment) i think the reason why i wouldn't want a bigger studio is I would just have a biger space to waste more time. Although..having PEACE AND QUIET wouldn't hurt either....Ahh, a DANNY can dream... :smt033
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Offline jrcaicedo

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Re: Why do you want an art studio?
« Reply #15 on: April 10, 2007, 02:10:55 PM »
Why I want a studio? To be able to have a space where I can concentrate on my artwork without worrying about leaving stains in my living room or the sink. A place where I'm able to store my paintings without worrying about the dog eating the fresh paint and dying out of intoxication. A place where I can be somewhat loud and get lost in the creative process. A place where I can make a mess and then start all over again. A place where I can interact with fellow artists. A place where I can work in any medium that allows me to execute my work the best.

A studio space will allow me to fuel my creativity and the ability to produce more work. A chance to be a full time artist.

-Jose

Offline dcdawny

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Re: Why do you want an art studio?
« Reply #16 on: April 12, 2007, 10:48:58 PM »
My relationship to my work is the most important thing in my life. I need, not want, studio space as much as other people need a home or office. The question for me is: What qualifies as studio space? I have had studio space that wasn't in my home and studio space that was actually my home and have been able to work regardless of the location. The issue for me is usually related to ceiling height. Most homes don't have the ceiling height that I need to work. As a matter of fact, most galleries don't have ceiling heights that are to my liking. I prefer very large works and need 12 foot ceilings. This creates the most problems for me in obtaining a functional studio space.  I prefer to live near my work. Usually with my work. I find it frustrating that many zoning laws and programs prohibit living in studios.  I like to be near my work, not 40 mins away when an idea comes up. The immediacy of being within a short walk is important to my creative progress. As an artist who just relocated from Brooklyn, I am OK with making due with my home as space. The main reason I would want to have a professional studio is exposure through open studio visits. That cannot be achieved in the suburban home. That is why artdc.org is critical for those of us who do not have professional studios.

Offline angelakleis

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Re: Why do you want an art studio?
« Reply #17 on: April 13, 2007, 10:09:28 AM »
Quote
That is why artdc.org is critical for those of us who do not have professional studios.
 
 :smt004

Offline Jesse

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Re: Why do you want an art studio?
« Reply #18 on: April 13, 2007, 10:14:10 AM »
We may be creating artdc.com 2 very soon.  Details to follow!
It's up to all of you to make it happen, and we'll help organize it!

Offline dcdawny

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Re: Why do you want an art studio?
« Reply #19 on: April 13, 2007, 11:38:21 AM »
What can we do to help "Make It Happen?"