I thought it might be appropriate to start with Boston-area artist Deborah Barlow's thoughts on sharing her studio with visitors. Deborah put forth her response to my invitation to participate in the ISBP as a comment to the original post. I've included this comment because when I conceived of the idea for the ISBP, it didn't occur to me that there would be folks who wouldn't want studio visitors. I interpreted Agnes Martin's quote, "Never let anyone into your studio" as merely a quirky quote from the famously paradoxical artist. I appreciate Deborah's thoughts so I've included them here:
On one hand I have an artist's curiosity about how these issues are felt and dealt with by other artists. A studio is after all a fascinating place and so revelatory. And there is a little bit of voyeurism in me that is operational as well. Who can resist looking behind that curtain into the kitchen?
But at the same time I feel an intense need to protect the rag and bone shop of my own creative life. I gave up doing the popular open studio thing years ago because I feel so strongly about choosing who comes in to my space, and when. It's almost like some energy in my space is running around butt naked, and asking it to cover up and put on clothes is really, really offensive.
And yet I can imagine my attitude changing. It doesn't feel like a truism for my creative life, just a proclivity that is in full swing right now. It could change next year. Who knows?
Your challenge is an interesting one. Given my current subterranean, sub rosa mind set, I'm probably not a good candidate to participate. But I am curious about the response it engenders.
Thank you for this thoughtful and provocative posting."
Lou Storey is a New Jersey artist who is also a social worker. Lou currently works with people with HIV/AIDS. I met Lou last year when he took on the herculean task of curating and organizing an exhibit of art by social workers for an annual social work conference. The exhibit was a very popular feature of the conference, which draws several thousand social workers over a weekend in Atlantic City. Here's what Lou has to say about his studio:
"I’ve had plenty of studios (30+ years of them) and this one, built in the unfinished basement of my new home, is a keeper. I never intended to paint the floor, but the guy that helped me with the lighting insisted on the walls, ceiling and floor being white, which I hated. I need to see colors. I tried the white room for about two days (or was it two hours?) and went stark raving mad. I had some left over cans of paint from painting the walls upstairs, so I just went at the floor and a few hours later I felt the studio become livable.
Regarding letting people into my studio, I now do it carefully. Years ago a critic came to my studio (I was thrilled) and I am sure she said lots of nice things and helpful things, but all I can remember is a strange statement she made: “My, you have an unusual relationship with yellow!” For years after that when I would pick up the tube of yellow I would hesitate. But that was years ago, and it is no longer a problem, although when I pick up a tube of yellow now I am apt to say, “Well, hello there yellow, you’re looking scrumptious today!”
28 x 36
Acrylic, wood, cast plastic shapes
Thanks to both Lou and Deborah. Check back in the next few days for the next installment of the ISBP. There is no deadline for this project. I'll continue to post contributions as they come in....pass it on!