This is the 184th installment of a series in which artists send in a photo and a description of their workspace. In light of COVID-19, we’ve asked participants to reflect on how the pandemic has impacted their studio space and/or if their work process has changed while quarantining. Want to take part? Please submit your studio! Just check out the submission guidelines.
My studio is always in a state of mid-production and I typically have several bodies of work in various stages being worked on simultaneously. The environment I work in is like controlled chaos where ideas are continually being tested and worked out in multiple ways on various pieces. These various stages of completion influence one another as they are being brought up together developing a common thread which holds them together as I create new series to exhibit. It is this manner of working that I have fully allowed my work to be process driven and allow for chance, risk, and mistakes to become an essential part of how I create.
Todd Colby, Florence, Massachusetts
This photograph is a view of one wall in my studio in Florence, MA. I’ve been here since September 1. It’s been a big change being in a large studio compared to my old, tiny one in Brooklyn. This photo shows my work table and the dozens of paintings I’ve been working on since being here in Florence. I’ve taken several of my older, large, unstretched canvases and cut them up into rectangles and reassembled them onto smaller (11″ x 14″) stretched canvases. I compose my poems in a similar way, by taking diverse entries in my notebooks and reassembling them in ways that surprise and delight me. I miss Brooklyn, but love having so much affordable space and light to make my art.
After moving studio into my home in March and April, right before the lockdown, I introduced many plants with the intent to clear out the air and feel the chlorophyll wash over my nerves. Talking about code switching in one’s practice is nothing compared to code switching one’s space. I am constantly bringing my kitchen mittens into my studio and my chop saw into my kitchen. I am finding a flow to my practice however through letting go of the “genius space,” a typical studio, and allowing the strong tastes of domestic entanglements influence my work. If you look closely you may even see a swath of cat hair, buyers beware. The entire apartment is basically my work zone. Having a studio in proximity to where you sleep is the trend of the times, I am not sure when this lockdown will end, and not sure how we reimagine abilities to pay debts and rent. What I am sure of is it turns out plants like eating meals three times a day, like heat in the winter, and go into shock just like humans. The variety of shapes and phenomena in plants are showing up in my new works, stay tuned.
Prior to quarantine I worked in my studio without paying much attention to the surrounding walls and surfaces. I was focusing on the work and allowing the work to speak to the space. During quarantine I found myself less interested in a neutral white walled space. I took time and allowed myself to adorn some walls with a collection of vintage signs, posters, and photographs. Releasing these elements from neglect and storage and layering my surroundings with a variety of inspiration and history has created a new temperature in my creative workplace. Unleashing this visual information gave me the impetus to adjust my practice to include all manner of pieces and parts of my creative life’s storage space. Tools and functional parts, cast offs and materials exist side by side with sculpture elements all while flowing together creating a new, informed and unified context in which my objects exist.
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