*an ongoing series of quotations – mostly from artists, to artists – that offers wisdom, inspiration, and advice for the sometimes lonely road we are on.
Homo sapiens is the animal that means something, or that desperately wants to mean something. Undoubtedly our thirst for meaning has a lot to do with our petrifying awareness of death, itself a side effect of the imagination, and one that makes our unique position as much of a curse as it is a gift.
As the prime fruit of the imagination, art is the incontrovertible sign of humanity’s presence on earth. But what constitutes the human itself? The prehistoric paintings at Chauvet confront us with a dimension of ourselves that, though familiar in ways, remains in many respects unknown and may ultimately be unknowable. Human consciousness has access to a powerful otherworld, the place of dreams and myth, poetry and lunacy. [This is]… the “imaginal,” the name Henry Corbin gave to the intermediate realm, central to the inscrutable mind of God. As a concrete manifestation of this imaginal realm in the public sphere, art calls us back to the source as a matter of course.
J.F. Martel in Reclaiming Art in the Age of Artifice: A Treatise, Critique, and Call to Action
Comments are welcome!
A: I am on my third, and probably last, studio. I say ‘probably’ because I love my space and have no desire to move. Plus, it would be a tremendous amount of work to relocate, considering that I have been in my West 29th Street studio since 1997.
My very first studio, in the late 1980s, was the spare bedroom of my house in Alexandria, Virginia. I set up a studio there while I was on active duty in the Navy. When I resigned my commission, I was required to give the President an entire year’s advance notice. Towards the end of that year I remember calling in sick so I could stay home and make art.
In the early 1990s I rented a studio on the third floor of the Torpedo Factory in Alexandria. For a while I enjoyed working there, but the constant interruptions – in an art center that is open to the public – became tiresome.
In 1997 I had the opportunity to move to New York. I desperately craved solitary hours to work in peace, without interruption, so at first I didn’t have a telephone. I still don’t have WiFi there because my studio is reserved strictly for creative work.
Moving from Virginia to New York in 1997 was relatively easy. My aunt, who planned to be in California to continue her Buddhist studies, offered me her rent-controlled sixth-floor walkup on West 13th Street. I looked at just one other studio before signing a sublease for my space at 208 West 29th Street. I had heard about the vacancy through a college friend of my husband, Bryan. Karen, the lease-holder, was relocating to northern California to work on “Star Wars” with George Lucas. After several years, she decided not to return to New York and I have been the lease-holder ever since.
Comments are welcome!