I have a tiny home art studio.
I mean a really tiny space that doubles as my art studio when the family isn’t trying to use the space as a dining room. It is unfortunate that I happen to live in one of the most expensive areas in the world, where a two bedroom apartment rents for anywhere from 3 to 6 thousand dollars a month. And, on the low end, many times there is no dishwasher, parking spot or even a second bathroom.
So for me to have an art studio at all means that I rent a storage unit to keep all of my tools and supplies. And finished artwork. Let’s not forget about that. I have a lot of it hanging on my walls, but come on.
I can hardly tell what color the paint on the walls is
for the number of pieces I have hanging. Unless of course there are some pieces that are hung in a show somewhere, in which case there is only blank wall space. But I digress.
In order for me to work I need to plan what to do, when I am going to do it, and make sure I get to the storage unit during the hours they are open to get everything I need. God forbid if I forget something and it’s 10pm when I am starting to work.
Then I need to set everything up in my tiny home art studio. By the time I’m finished schlepping everything around, sometimes the mood has passed me by And there’s no way I’m not going to work, because there it is in front of me. Waiting.
Now I know this goes against all the artist rules,
but at that point, especially if it has been a challenging day, a glass of wine is in order. A couple of sips and the world begins to right itself a bit. I need to shake off the edge of depression that sometimes creeps in as I survey my kingdom, but for the most part I’m pretty good at ignoring it. I’ve lived here for a while. The inconvenience is a constant.
Despite all the hardships (poor poor pitiful me) that I have to endure in order to set up my tiny home art studio, once I start to get my feet wet the world slips away and I am transported. Not every time, but often enough that it makes it worth my while to go to the effort to put everything together.
I have often thought about joining an artists’ studio tour group,
however, after having visited some of them, I would be too embarrassed to have anyone think that I work in such a pitiful space. To say nothing of the fact that only three people can fit in here at a time.
Sometimes I wonder if my work would be better if I was lucky enough to have a dedicated space in which to work. Where I could leave my work half done, come back to it at another time to see what it needs. What a wonderful thing to have a door that closed, protecting my work from my artist cat, who likes to put her finishing touches on my work. She feels that she should always have the last word.
Admittedly there are times when the whole schlepping, arranging, working, drying, and re-schlepping is just more than I can deal with. Especially when I am in between series. Since I work exclusively in series, I rely on a stepping stone from my current work to take me to my next work. There are times when that takes a while.
I know that as a working artist I should be in my tiny home art studio every day.
I am not very good at that. When I had a dedicated studio I was, but somehow with my working scenario as it is right now, I drag my feet. I do laundry, vacuum the living room, paint my nails. Anything to put off the dreaded “putting together a work space” thing.
Until I find that stepping stone. When that happens it doesn’t matter where I am or how it inconveniences the rest of the family. There are extra tables, supplies and work in progress everywhere. It is chaotic to say the least. I work myself into a lather, forget to do anything else, and work.
The area I live in has changed tremendously in the twenty-five years I’ve lived here. It is time for me to consider a relocation. It is crowded, the traffic has become unbearable, and the people have changed. Most of the friends I made when I first moved here have left because the area is so densely populated. And the price they can get for their houses allows them to move almost anywhere and buy at the top of the market.
I have a spot picked out. The only issue is the temperatures in the summer. I live in a very temperate climate where I use the air conditioning all of a couple of weeks during the summer months. Moving will mean air conditioning all summer. But, putting it in perspective, I can afford a house big enough to accommodate a pool, a bit of land, a great space for a studio. And sadly, it will cost me about the same monthly as the tiny shoe box that I currently live in.
A no brainer really. Especially the prospect of my own studio again.
So, while I rant and boo hoo, here is the real question I have to ask myself.
Would I work any faster, better or in more comfort if I had a studio? Would my work be any better than it is now? Does the angst of having to work in a non-dedicated space improve my vision for my work?
I can’t really answer any of those questions from this side. It will only after I move that I will discover whether the space I’m in makes any difference to the work I produce. It may be awhile before I can do a follow-up to this, but it will happen. Hopefully sooner rather than later.