* an ongoing series of quotations – mostly from artists, to artists – that offers wisdom, inspiration, and advice for the sometimes lonely road we are on.
… art is an objective pursuit with the same claim to truth as science, albeit truth of a different order. At the very least the consistency and universality of aesthetic expression throughout history and around the globe suggest that the undertaking that finds its modern formulation in the concept of art is a distinct sphere of activity with its own ontology. My belief is that what the modern West calls art is the direct outcome of a basic human drive, an inborn expressivity that is inextricably bound with the creative imagination. It is less a product of culture than a natural process manifesting through the cultural sphere. One could go so far as to argue that art must exist in order for culture to emerge in the first place.
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!