An artists’ studio is an essential place for an artist to work. Whether you’re a beginner or an established artist, the workspace you choose should be both sacred and practical. You can’t make art without power, light, and airflow. If you plan on selling your work, you may also need a retail setup and storage space for supplies. There are many ways to find an art studio, including a co-working space or a shared studio.
Artists’ studios have been used for centuries. Some were built specifically for artists, and others are ephemeral. In some areas, artists have been forced to relocate, as a result of the development of new buildings and the changing urban landscape. For example, Andy Warhol’s Silver Factory on East 47th Street was destroyed, and Willem de Kooning’s West 22nd Street studio was transformed into a private condo.
In the 17th century, Dutch painters began to incorporate their studios into their self-portraits. Flemish master Jan van Eyck adapted the process of oil painting to create hyper-realistic depictions of everyday objects. The process of mixing paint, drying it, and laying it on the canvas required long periods of preparation.
In the 1700s, the art studio gained its status as a place of magic. This was a time when wealthy individuals sought to change monastic culture. Rather than being subdued by the system, avant-garde artists refused to be constrained by it. As they continued to experiment with their artistry, they installed their studios on floating boats and fields. Among other things, they encircled a central court with an elegant vault of glass.
Today, some art studios are public. But many are inaccessible. Fortunately, some are preserved. One of these, Jean-Michel Basquiat’s 57 Great Jones Street studio, was awarded a historic plaque.
A number of the art studios you’ll find in New York are part of the Museum of Modern Art’s Artist Studios program, which encourages visitors to look into resident artists’ works in progress. Many of these spaces are open during the day.
Artists’ studios are important sites, not only because they provide insight into the creative process, but because they can be a powerful tool for communicating the power of a place. Many of these spaces, which are designed to replicate the aesthetic of an artist’s home, are filled with ephemeral objects, from paintings and artworks to furniture and even the scent of turpentine.
Pablo Picasso had several artist’s studios on the French Cote d’Azur. His studio photographs showcase the variety of artworks he produced. Among them, you can see his exploration of perspective, as well as his use of different materials.
Visiting an artist’s studio provides an unparalleled opportunity to experience the art-making process first-hand. Not only do you get to see works in progress, but you can also ask questions. It’s a unique museum experience.
Visiting a studio is different from visiting other historic sites. It’s an intimate view into the artist’s life, and it can transport you to the artist’s world. https://www.youtube.com/embed/EFjd0-ldAT0