A few days ago, I moved into a new studio. Before my arrival, the space was entirely devoid of furniture, not to mention signs of life. The floor lay bare, the walls barren. Any muses lingering in the vicinity remained silent.
But not for long.
By the end of the first day, chaos ensued. Paints, brushes, and mixing knives covered the tables. Blank canvases leaned against one another, oh glorious potential! Sketchbooks sat in piles, wonky pyramids of paper staring down their counterparts: pencils, erasers, markers, and crayons. Materials moved about the room, looking for their place.
I have set up many studios over the years and despite their shared purpose, each had a unique personality. An early one came in the form of a closet so small it held only a drafting table; my chair jutted out into kitchen. Others were big enough to house a dance party with spacious lofts for extra supplies and an office. Studios came in the form of basements, attics, storefronts, and sheds. An enormous garage, with no electricity, housed my artistic endeavors for a time, requiring me to run extension cords from the house for lights and heat. My all time favorite, a classroom in a defunct Catholic school, had floor to ceiling windows and wall to wall chalkboards. “Sister James Anne, check this out. I’m painting nudes in here!”
Pondering studios past, I realize what makes it successful has little to do with physical space. A “studio” is two things. It is a designated place where an artist works, a statement of serious intent. More than that, it is a place where you don’t have to put your art supplies away at the end of the day.
Now that’s worth having.