I love my studio! And I am immensely grateful for it.
Do you need to have a studio to feel like a legitimate artist?
I have two rooms in the Hamilton Bank Building in East Vancouver. Its a building with a lot of character in an increasingly hip neighbourhood, with lots of characters living upstairs. The building was a bank in the early 1900's and (we think) a brewery before that. I've got big windows that let in natural light, and provide great visibility on the street. The building owner likes having responsible artists, and I've been here for 6 years now.
For me, a great studio needs to have the following qualities:
- well lit, with natural light during the day
- safe (in the space, and en route to-and-from)
- stable (I can't work if I have to move every year. My clients can't find me easily if I move every year)
- spacious enough to store materials, finished and in-progress paintings AND to be able to stand back and view a 4' x 6' painting
I've had other studio spaces that I've loved, but I've also managed with much less. When I lived in New York City, my 'studio' was an 18" x 42" table in the corner of my bedroom.
In your home or separate?
I’ve tried setting up a studio in my home. For me, I find a space outside my home is much more efficient. There is no refrigerator, no laundry, no phone, no cats, no husband. Until I got a smart phone, there was no internet or email. I go, I work.
To share or not to share?
Ideally this is a matter of personal preference, rather than economic necessity. I like sharing with 1 or 2 other artists as long as they are respectful, responsible, and don’t have exactly the same working hours that I do. I like the perk of creative energy when I come in and see what my studiomate has in progress. Other artists need solitude to create and don’t want interuptions in their process.
There is a lot of discussion about artists losing studio space and being forced to change their art to something that is manageable in reduced space. The New York Times has an article here.
Artist Run Website features a different artist studio in their blog every Sunday. My 'Sunday Studio' feature is here.
Regardless of how much space you have, and what the situation is, the most important thing is to continue to make your art!