The Illusive Studio

The mind reels at the attainment of a long held goal. Naturally, there is an overwhelming sense of accomplishment, but there also exists a sort of giddiness like you encounter as a child when you’ve just gotten away with something that borders on inappropriate. Perhaps this feeling is unique to me. Perhaps it is indicative of a disjointed cultural heritage that exhorts the denial of personal ambition on Sundays but rewards it every other day of the week. Regardless, as I stood for the first time in the art studio that my wife and I are to share I felt a surge of sensations, chief among them being relief. Relief that adult life isn’t always just taxes, toil, and teeth cleanings.

The importance of a space devoted to creating art might be difficult to fathom if you’re not an artist. To fully understand, it is best to imagine all the tools of a mechanic situated in their living room. While it might be possible to rebuild the carburetor there, it will most likely result in lingering smells, dirty floors, and damaged furniture. Bizarre clutter would be inevitable and it would expand to cover any flat surface. The cat would sleep in the toolbox. Guests would be overly apologetic about their early departure. That’s the fate of any artist, craftsman, or enthusiast that allows their passion to coincide with the space they call home.

This has been the fate in my household ever since graduating from art school. Sometimes the studio has been a corner in the office and other times its been the entire living room. In many ways this haphazard arrangement of creative space convinces you that you’re not really serious about your art. Indeed, many critics and curators would undoubtedly agree. We can’t all be Felix Gonzales-Torres; working on the kitchen table or borrowing a studio from friends as needed.

Whether or not the liberation of our living room will dramatically improve my creative output remains to be seen. I must admit that many artists seek a studio to simply prove that they’re serious and then hardly utilize the space. This tends to be obvious to others and completely hidden from them. After all, isn’t part of art making being creative? You’d think that following the tired formula of leasing drafty cheap loft space would, in some way, relegate you (and your work) to Clicheland. I don’t care however. I’m looking forward to being able to back away from my work and not bump into dinner on the dining room table.

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