July 21, 2016

Where's your studio?

So here's another question for you artists:
Which do you prefer, studio space outside your home or inside your home?? 
For two years I've been telling the world how madly in love with my studio space I am and now I'm trying to rationalize the possibility of not being able to afford it anymore.
I told myself when I got it that I'd never have a studio in my house again.
There's something about physically going to work that is so appealing. Paying for a separate space forces me to work harder and take it all more seriously. I don't think about the computer or the dirty dishes or what we're eating for dinner. I barely even look at my phone.
Having a professional space makes me feel more like, um, a professional. 
But it also has a lot to do with having something all to myself which is really important too. The problem is if I can't afford it then that something for myself turns into something else entirely.
How selfish do we artists get to be? 
Especially when there's no money coming in from the work, only going out.....

Samantha Palmeri painting
unfinished painting, oil on canvas

I'm an artist who has tinkered away in the studio mostly unnoticed for years, and I suspect that will be the case for more years to come. Not that I'm complaining about it, well, I don't mean to anyway. I know I sound like I complain about a lot of things! About rejection notices and staying motivated and burning bridges, about solitude, both the desire for it and the lack thereof. I've complained about wanting a muse after losing one I thought I had, and also about not really needing a muse to begin with, etc. etc. I'd like to think they're not really complaints so much as comments on the topic.
I think spending a lifetime making art can sometimes be confusing like this, and at certain times it does feel a little like a useless endeavor. Nobody really needs it, do they?

I used to have a slogan, pinned up in the storefront window of my first art gallery with white twinkly lights around it, that said Art Is A Necessity. One day a known local artist asked me with a quizzical smirk on his face if I actually believed that. It never occurred to me not to believe it. I think about that all the time. I don't know why, because I don't really know how it affects me one way or the other except that I've always made art because it was a necessity for me. I don't know about anyone else but I need it.

Anyway, my hesitation, anticipation and anxiousness about getting back to work in the studio tends to do this. This wallowing in existential revery sort of thing. I've been reading Philip Guston books lately like I'm studying for the next quiz. Philip I'm ready whenever you wanna lay it on me! Except reading about it and doing it are very very different. I don't want to be him anyway. I'd like to be myself if I can figure out what in the world that looks like, and where to do it.............................


liz said...

I have looked at it both ways - because it's not making money, it's a waste - and that it's a necessary part of life, like food. For me, the "if it's not making money" thought process has proven to be destructive and most definitely NOT in my best interest. For some of us, art IS a necessity. Without it, we wither (at best). I think of it as an investment in my health and well being (which benefits everyone around me as well). Sometimes we do what we must, and tighten our belts - but I wholeheartedly support giving ourselves the permission to invest in our own well being!

Anonymous said...

I'm not going to try to say anything great so I'll borrow from two writers.

George Bernard Shaw said "Without art, the crudeness of reality would make the world unbearable." Of course art is necessity.

J. D. Salinger said "An artist's only concern is to shoot for some kind of perfection, and on his own terms, not anyone else's."

If being in your own studio helps you paint on your own terms and help your life be more bearable and a place to be on your own away from, dirty dishes, etc., try as hard as you can to do it.

Samantha Palmeri said...

Anonymous you sound like someone I used to know. But thank you for your exhortation. I've taken all good advice and am happy to say that today is my first day back in the studio working!

Samantha Palmeri said...

Thank you so much for saying that! I really appreciate it. I may need to look back at these wise words from time to time!

Michael Kriegh said...

Yup. Art is necessary. I make it because I feel compelled to. I can't not make it. As for separate studio space, I would love to have some, but can't afford it. I contribute to the household income in a minimal way. My compulsion to make art affects the family economically. On the other hand, I am around to do things in the house. Cook, grocery shopping, keep the dogs company (they would be latchkey kids otherwise), garden, a variety of things that I contribute to the family.

Making money with the art must be far from your mind when you make it. Otherwise you bend the art towards a market and away from yourself. Selling it is good for the ego and icing on the financial cake. And honestly, if entities like the merchants on Main Street would pay for the value they get out of having artists around, we'd all be getting some income.

And finally, my favorite quote, attributed to John Cage, but I can't substantiate it, is: "Make the work, something will come of it." Those are the words I live by as an artist. And that something is not necessarily money.

Make the art Samantha, something will come of it.

Samantha Palmeri said...

Wise words Mr. Kriegh! I appreciate your comment. John Cage was a smart guy too but I might even cut that down to "just make the work"! I'm in a good place. Sometimes we just need to get the doubt out of us, which maybe my blog is all about without realizing it. Momentarily I am off to the studio and very happy about it. As long as I've got it I'm going to use it!