While I was chilling at work (Blick Art Materials) the other day, I passed time by with reading the books we carry. I grabbed Inside the Painter's Studio, by Joe Fig.
Joe interviews with 24 artists about their creative space and schedules. You get to see the chaos or calm of these artists studios.
As each of the artists was interviewed by Joe, they answered many of the same questions. These questions spiked my interest quickly and I zoned in on how these creatives live their lives and work in their spaces. I thought answering these questions for myself would be a fun process, especially if these are things I ask myself throughout my artistic career/life.
- When did you consider yourself a professional artist, and when were you able to dedicate yourself full-time to that pursuit?
Hilarious. Currently, I'd say I'm years away from coming close to being what you call a "professional" artist. I would be overjoyed to one day be a full-time artist.
- And when were you able to quit the jobs you had?
I impulsively quit my full-time job about three months ago to, also impulsively, move to the art district in Columbus.
- What studios have you had?
When in school, I shared a small precious space with three other visual artists. I LOVED having that small little community around to encourage, critique, and be inspired by. I. MISS. IT.
When I moved to Columbus in January of 2016, I turned my spare bedroom into a studio. Bonus fact: When moving out, I went around on the carpet and cut the little strands of carpet that I had "surprisingly" gotten oil paint on. HA. Oops.
For a short few months, I was in a cold, wet and dark basement. I oddly loved it.
- How long have you been in your current studio?
One month. Spare bedroom, new house. Best space I've had so far in my few years of independently creating.
- Has the location of the studio influenced your work?
Maybe. I need sunlight. The most sunlight. ALL the sunlight. Hardwood floors are also quite the blessing.
- Can you describe a typical day?
I may spend a combined of ten hours in my space every week. I enter, I stare at my wall of color charts, turn on music, and then paint.
- Do you have certain clothing you wear?
Whatever I have on. Which is so unintelligent. I've learned that a stupid amount of times.
- Do you listen to music or watch TV while in the studio? What kind?
Music, all the time. Spotify Discover Weekly is family. Upbeat, unique, and loud music.
- And if so, does it affect your work?
Probably. I think my mind processes fast the crazier the music, and possibly the more bright, but less color variation. The chiller and deeper the music, the more I sit and ponder, and the more slow and wildly intentional I am.
- You use oil paints? Are you brand loyal?
Absolutely. Favorite medium. My favorite brand is the cheapest one.
- Where do you work on your art? (floor, wall, easel, etc.)
The floor, on my giant Masonite drawing board. I have a nice easel. But when I'm frustrated with what I'm painting, it's so easy to just lean back and lay on the floor. (:
- Working table(s)?
I need one.
- How often do you clean your studio? Does it affect your work?
Uhhhh. Eeeehhhhh. When I know where everything is, I am at peace. Sometimes, those places are all over the floor.
- Do you work on one project at a time or several?
Several. Always. It's like a 6 disk CD changer. When emotions change, I swap paintings.
- When you're contemplating your work - do you sit or stand?
Everything. I lay in bed, I lay on the floor, I sit and stare, I pace, I eat, I dance, I write, etc.
- How do you come up with titles?
Depends on where the piece is coming from. If it's part of my story, or a depiction of something I've learned recently, it usually is pretty to the point. ("War," "Rebellion," "Poison.")
- Is there an artist who has influenced the way you work? As far as setting up your studio?
The first person/people that came to mind was my professors. But I discovered this artist, Alison Johnson, not too long ago. Her abstract work is BEAUTIFUL, and her techniques look similar to what I love.
- Do you have assistants? Have you ever been an assistant yourself?
No and no. Duh.
- Do you have a motto or creed that as an artist you live by?
Hmmmm I'm not sure if it's specifically a motto as an artist, but it definitely plays into my work a lot, "Seek to understand before being understood." Or "It's okay to not be okay."
- What advice would you give a young artist who is just starting out?
Well, I am a young artist starting out. But what I have learned is that I need to put myself out there. Go to creative places, talk to artists, and other creatives, Share your work, beginner or professional.
- Do you have any other special devices or tools that are unique to your creative process? If so, what are the special tools?
It's not really special, but my different palette knives are some close friends.
- Do you have periods where you're just painting or just drawing?
Yes. The drawing periods are very few and short though. I also go through sculpture/assemblage phases, where I am inspired by what I collect.
- Do you have a favorite color?
Blue. I. Love. Blue. I'll post another blog about why sometime. It's serious. (:
Thank you for reading my friends.
With All My Love,
Lauren Ashleigh Benjamin