The value of having a Studio
Artspace hosted their first Open Studios at Eaton House in February. I think the vast majority of people who took part and attended the event would say it was a great success and it’s given me renewed appreciation for my studio. I thought it would be good to consider the value of having such a space.
Leaving the Distractions
Probably the best thing about having a studio is to be able to leave the distractions of home at home. There are always things pulling me away from work when I’m at home. If I’m struggling to get into the flow of work then all these distractions will definitely aim to derail my progress! Being at the studio draws a line between work and home and enables me to think, focus and get on with work. At the studio I’m able to concentrate in a different way because I’m surrounded by my work, my ideas and my materials.
A Space to Work
It’s a great blessing to have a space to make art and not be worried about leaving it out until next time. The studio is safe and secure. There are no children to accidently damage anything, no pets, no unwanted guests. It’s good for the domestic environment to not have my work lying out on the kitchen or dining room table which I would previously do. It means I’m not constantly packing away and getting things out again and no one’s worried about accidentally damaging anything. Things like that can be a barrier for artists – having to bring work out just creates another step in the often difficult process of starting on some work. I like having my materials out too. Because I use found/reclaimed objects (mainly polystyrene at the moment) I can easily see what pieces I have and what might be the right piece for a particular idea. It helps me move quickly on to the next thing when I’ve finished a project.
A Room with a View
I’m so pleased to have a studio with a window. It makes a massive difference to enjoy natural light in which I can work on fairly detailed work without the need of a lamp or overhead lights (at least for most of the year). I think decent lighting is probably an essential ingredient to any good studio. It’s a bonus if you can have an actual view. From the 11th floor of Eaton House I get a view of the Coventry cityscape – and that helps me refocus my eyes after arduous sessions of painting the dots of polystyrene! Being in the city centre enables me to maintain my sense of geographical connection.
There has been a growing feeling of community and connectedness in the Artspace studios over the past 6-9 months. A big step forward was the exhibition seven residents put on at Arcadia last summer, but most recently and I think more significantly was the Artspace Open Studios a few weeks ago where nearly all the artist residents took part. Around 100 invited guests came up to Floors 4 and 11 to chat to the artists and see their work.
It was great for us as a group to show people our work and rehearse and explain our practice and why we do it. It is always good to hear people’s feedback and begin a dialogue.
The Open Studios also provided a good incentive to tidy my space up, clear out a few things and put some work on the walls. Though painfully simple, these things have all really helped me create a more appealing space to work and thrive. You can’t create work in a vacuum but you also don’t want to be surrounded by so much stuff that it starts to suffocate you and your creativity. Again these are aspects of having a studio that I really value.
Having a studio does bring with it crucial opportunities to connect with those around you. To see other peoples’ work and talk about it is inspiring. You can build excitement for your own practice and a desire to keep going by seeing how others are battling on and doing it. Or you can be that voice of encouragement to someone else. If you believe in the importance of art and the power of creativity then these are important things. Connection inevitably opens doors – doors to opportunities (whether directly or indirectly) and doors to other people (who might be the exact person you need to speak to at a particular time in your practice).
So does the value outweigh the cost?
Obviously cost is a significant issue – now more than ever as the cost of living continues to skyrocket – but for me it’s worth paying if you can afford it.