Part I: The studio as a path to legitimacy.
My first studio was in high school, as an advanced placement art student I was given an easel and storage drawers that were for my individual use. I chose a space near a corner where two walls quickly filled with my sketches and paintings. I was eager to make my mark on the space.
After high school, my art practice waned and I did not keep a studio. I struggled to identify as an artist. I kept creating here and there, mostly on the side of my bedroom with the window open and fans on high.
In 2010 I made the conscious decision to pursue art with a focused practice. I made changes to my goals, my schedule and my finances and I rented an art studio. With one action, I shifted my identity from amateur to artist.
When my husband and I bought our home in 2013 my priority was a home with dedicated studio space. The detached garage is now my favorite part of the house. I am also fond of the kitchen.
Part II: The studio as a reflection of the artist.
The artist’s studio has always held a mystique and fascination for me. Even my first childhood observations of group studio rooms during after-school art lessons left me daydreaming of the individuals who worked in that space. There is no place more representative of the inhabitant and their inner being than a working artist’s studio.
During the time I rented a studio I loved the open studio days because of the opportunity to visit other artists’ studios. They were quirky, messy and still full of mystery. Each object a question to be asked. Each question a pathway toward understanding the artist.
Although I had dreamed of my own studio, the reality of my long-time dream left me insecure. My studio was clean. My studio was neat. Cluttering my studio just for show felt disingenuous. Was I mysterious? Was I an artist?
Slowly I adjusted to the idea of my studio as a place to work. In my studio I am productive and curious and brave. I work better in an environment with less clutter.
When friends visit the house they want to see my garage studio. I show them, nervously, and am met with pleasant questions about most of the things within. I am mysterious to them.
The artist’s studio is a retreat into the artist’s mind. Whether the space is filled with inspiration, tidiness, chaos, relaxation, seriousness or play; the space is possessed solely by the artist. There will never be another like it.