This is the 193rd installment of a series in which artists send in a photo and a description of their workspace. In light of COVID-19, we’ve asked participants to reflect on how the pandemic has impacted their studio space and/or if their work process has changed while quarantining. Want to take part? Please submit your studio! Just check out the submission guidelines.
I used to be embarrassed to take curators up through my house to the top floor where my studio is. When the pandemic began and the whole country was under lockdown, having my studio at home was my sanity. We have a big house and my kids and grandkids live in little apartments. At one point during the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic we were 19 people (six children under six) living and working here. Redefines “togetherness.” My studio became the only place in our house I could control, where every mess made was mine.
The summer before COVID-19, I started to have several friends become very ill. I began to investigate the body on the cellular level. I worked in layers on light boxes which I designed. As the virus ran rampant across the world, my work started to echo reality a little too much. I had to take a step back. It all seems very prophetic right now, but I stopped working on the body and started working on artists’ books and etchings. It was just too intense. We are just coming out of our third lockdown here. My studio is still my favorite place in the house.
When I bought a lot of land in the Sonoran Desert, on the edge of the Saguaro National Park, I knew that the already built structure with a steel roof over a 40-foot shipping container and over a concrete slab would be a perfect studio. Since then, I’ve built my home next to it, and eventually I’ll live there for the rest of my life.
I came to Tucson four years ago for my MFA at University of Arizona and I felt literally in love with the surroundings and the people; because I wanted to add land art to my artistic practices Arizona was definitely the spot where to be.
My studio is an open space in the desert facing the beautiful mountain of the national park. I paint canvases directly on the floor and use the tables for my sculptures. The containers are for storage and protect my work when it is too windy. Isolation is not a problem for me, as I have difficulties with this noisy world we are in, so when the pandemic surged it didn’t change anything to my initial plan; actually, it strengthened my convictions that being far away was the best way for a decent artist life.
My studio is the top floor of my Brooklyn row-house. The larger red rug covers a thick stack of large paintings and drawings on paper. It makes for a strangely buoyant surface to walk on! There is shelving on the back right, and a desk where I work on smaller pieces. I pin paper to the wall and work standing in the area just before the large painting on the left. I share my studio with my cats Rik and Lola. You can see their luxurious bed and scratching post in the photo.
The artwork visible is from two current bodies of work. Inside Outside Windowphilia are life-sized ink and watercolor paintings of windows that play with reflection and layers of external and internal space. Also visible in a grid are pieces from the series Magical Things From Quarantine, portraits of easily overlooked objects of everyday life imbued with a power greater than the sum of their parts that are most meaningful to me during this strange and disorienting time. In that mix are also pieces I have done with my students in our Monday night virtual ART YARD Advanced Studio sessions.
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