Q: Do you have a home studio or do you go to an outside studio to work? Which do you prefer and why?
A: I have always preferred a separate studio. Pastel creates a lot of dust, it’s toxic to breathe, plus I do not want to live with the mess! I need a place to go in the mornings, someplace where I can focus and work without any distractions. It’s difficult to do that at home.
From the beginning of my time as an artist, in the mid-1980’s, I had a studio. My first one was in the spare bedroom of the Alexandria, Virginia, house that I shared with my late husband, Bryan, and that I still own.
For about three years in the 1990s I had a studio on the third floor of the Torpedo Factory Art Center, a building in Alexandria, VA that is open to the public. People would come in, watch artists at work, and sometimes buy a piece of art.
In April 1997 an opportunity to move to New York arose and I didn’t look back. By then I was showing in a good 57th Street gallery, Brewster Arts Ltd. (the gallery focused exclusively on Latin American artists; I was in the company of Leonora Carrington, Rufino Tamayo, Diego Rivera, etc.), and I had managed to find a New York agent, Leah Poller, with whom to collaborate.
I looked at only one other space before finding my West 29th Street studio and knew instantly it was the one! An old friend of Bryan’s from Cal Tech rented the space next door and he had told us it was available. Initially the studio was a sublet. The lease-holder was a painter headed to northern California to work temporarily for George Lucas at the Lucas Ranch. After several years she decided to stay so I was able to take over the lease. I feel extremely fortunate to have been in my West 29th Street, New York City space now for twenty-three years. In a city where old buildings are perpetually knocked down to make way for new ones this is rare.
My studio is an oasis in a chaotic city, a place to make art, to read, and to think. I love to walk in the door every morning and I feel calmer the moment I arrive. It’s my absolute favorite place in New York! Sometimes I think of it as my best creation. For more about this please see
Comments are welcome!
* an ongoing series of quotations – mostly from artists, to artists – that offers wisdom, inspiration, and advice for the sometimes lonely road we are on.
… if we look at the artifacts of all cultures, beauty always has attracted man’s attention. We know when we are in its presence. We’re held. Different pieces of art will arrest different people, and… some pieces will arrest larger numbers of people for longer periods of time. These are the works that are perhaps worthy of being called great art. We have to recognize that some people today, observing the greatest works of art, or the most awesome works of nature – the Grand Canyon, for instance – give it a minute and then are ready for something else. Insatiable for change, they are immune to deep resonance.
Art and beauty are about those resonances. It isn’t the subject matter that holds us. Some inexplicable reaction stops us, and we find ourselves connected with something other than ourself. Perhaps our ‘Self’ might be a better term, to distinguish it from the self that is caught up in thoughts, worries, and distractions. I like Ken Weber’s definition, that beauty “suspends the desire to be elsewhere.” In the face of great art, we experience transcendence.
Ian Roberts in Creative Authenticity: 16 Principles to Clarify and Deepen Your Artistic Vision
Comments are welcome!