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.
In the images [the paintings of the Chauvet cave in southern France] this prehistoric people have bequeathed to us, we get a glimpse of something like a shared humanity, but we also gaze into a stranger part of ourselves, something reaching to the depths. Since we do not know the context in which the paintings were made, we cannot in good faith chalk them up to some clear pragmatic end. We are seeing art in its naked state, deprived of any discernible appropriation. This can trouble our secular sensibilities since it confronts us not just with the mysteries of nature, but more strikingly still with the riddle of the presence of such things as us in the otherwise coherent physical world. Given the fact that the molecular chemistry that makes life possible is the same throughout the cosmos, would finding works of art on Mars or a remote planet be any more uncanny than finding them here on Earth?
F. Martel in Reclaiming Art in the Age of Artifice: A Treatise, Critique, and Call to Action
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.
As Immanuel Kant explained, aesthetic rapture is a peculiar kind of subjective phenomenon, since it presents itself as anything but subjective. It asks to be shared with others in hopes that they too might experience this thing that has had such a profound effect upon us. Naturally, the desire to share our astonishment is bound to be frustrated as we meet people who respond to our beloved work with indifference or even revulsion. We then remember that the affective power of works of art varies from person to person, and even from moment to moment within the same person’s life, a fact we usually put down to personal taste, though little consideration is given to what that term might mean. People have their own inclinations, and given that the aesthetic is held, not just by Kant but also by common wisdom, to be a private affair, its variability across the broad spectrum of human personalities can only seem inevitable.
J.F. Martel in Reclaiming Art in the Age of Artifice: A Treatise, Critique, and Call to Action
Comments are welcome!