Nearly two months ago, S.L. Peterson, a wonderful fellow Colorado artist (who recently moved, though), posted her answers to a blog interview that she participated in. In return, she was inviting other artists to join in and she would “interview” them by sending five new interview questions for them to post on their blogs.
So, I asked to be interviewed, and S.L. sent me five great questions. Since I’d like to provide an in-depth response to some of the questions, I’m going to post them one at a time. Here are my thoughts on the first question:
Question #1: You just moved from a studio in LoDo to a new studio space in the Santa Fe Arts District – both look like really neat spaces in areas where a lot is going on. I’m an artist who works from a home studio, and I’d love to hear how your work benefits from having a devoted studio space. How does your studio environment influence your work? And how does the act of getting up and going to the studio every day affect your work ethic?
I started my art career working on a tiny table in the corner of my livingroom – about five years ago when I left my corporate job and career. This progressed to taking over one of the extra bedrooms in my home. However, I quickly figured out that as an artist, my “creative space” was one of the top factors that were critical for me to successfully transition my career and launch my art business. So, I created several key goals for the space in which I would create – my “creative space”. My creative space must be a space that:
- develops my ability to “switch on” my creative process whenever I want to
- naturally focuses my energy and creativity on creating art (as opposed to taking extra energy to get me into my “creative zone”)
- develops my ability to consistently create quality results (art)
- fosters good art creation working habits
- is a professional-feeling and serious space for clients (collectors, gallery owners, press, etc.) to visit
Like the corporate world, I’ve approached my art career and business from a goal and results perspective. One difference though is that I’ve found my creativity and time creating art don’t always fit into my business or project-planned approach. I think it is important to have the ability to “turn on” my creative process whenever I want, so that I can better control my productivity and results.
So, I’ve worked to create a space that is about and for creating art. I keep the other parts of my business and life out of the studio – all things that aren’t about creating my art. Almost all of my business information, files, technology, office supplies, etc. are at my home office, not in the studio (expect for things like my calendar, studio notebook and inventory, all which fit in my bookbag). All of my general “daily life” stuff also either fits in my bookbag or is left at home. The only technology I have at my studio is my cell phone and my iPod (well, I have lighting, a working bathroom and a microwave, too).
Overall, I think I’ve successfully created a space that is about creating art. And, since it is in a space that is not part of my home, I don’t have to spend energy on “forced discipline” to create art when I’m in my studio. Of course, my switch for turning on my creative process doesn’t always work – but I’ve trained myself so that it usually does (there are times when I’ll get to my studio and literally walk in, look around a bit and then leave, because I just know it isn’t going to happen).
So, I feel my studio has given me solid consistency in my creative process and increased the quality of my results. As an aside, I don’t normally turn off my creativity when I’m not at my studio. I often think of new ideas, inspiration, compositions, technical solutions at any time and any place, but my studio is where I apply all of that to create my art. Having a studio away from home has also helped me develop studio working habits that I like to have. For example, I find “good” stopping points for my work (rather than stopping suddenly to see what the dog is barking at) and am more disciplined at keeping things tidy (instead of thinking I’ll just come back in a minute to clean up and then never do). Finally, I really like the feel and look of my studio space as a place where clients, gallery owners and press can visit – it is truly a space about my art.