I have a new studio space-ish. Just a drawing table really. But I’m excited about it. Everything is still a bit of a mess from the move. And of course I started new drawings before I finished unpacking and setting up the space. I need to live and work in it first before I know how I need it to be organized.
Our house has a finished basement, and since I work from home I took over an office area the previous owners had built into a room in the far corner. Currently I spend 8 hours a day in there as a user experience designer for a digital services company working in the public sector. My drawing table, books, and art supplies will eventually take up most of the room. I intentionally gave my professional work the smallest amount of space (a standing desk and light mounted to the wall in the corner) so that when I came in there to draw, or write, or think, my body and brain would recognize what the priority really was.
Mind games, really. But important ones.
The last time I had a proper studio was in 2017. I was attempting to run my own full time design studio, and share the space with my art and music practices. This was exceptionally hard, and ultimately it did not work out they way I hoped it might. It was a difficult market to be a one-man studio trying to feed a family of 5. I was trying to achieve a magical mix of professional and creative practices all in one borderless existence. This was something of an 8th grade dream I wanted to become real. I could move from client work to my art practice throughout the day. Some days it really was amazing. I put on pop-up art shows for friends. I formed a musical collaboration that is still happening. I was able to push my art practice into a new phase. Other days, sometimes weeks on end, I was white-knuckling the dashboard trying to win work and get invoices paid. No art was made in those times, and it’s presence seemed to be a reminder of some far off goal that was unachievable.
That 8th grade dream was to slowly shift my practice from client facing design, to fine art. To use my studio platform to build my audience and start producing income from art instead of graphic design work. I discovered that I was not able to fully embody myself as an artist, and as a full time business owner. The stress of generating enough income made it difficult to focus on the moving pieces I needed to work if I was to shift from being a full time client services provider to a full time artist. My brain, the way I learn, the way I focus (or not), needs certain things in place in order to get to those “next deep layers” both in my professional work and in my art practice.
So - once again I have a professional space and art space in the same damn space.
DO I NEVER LEARN?! EVER Learn. Never not… whatever…
What’s the difference this time? It seems to come down to mental burdens and convenience. I love working from home and my current job is actually a really calm place to be. It pays well. I’m valued and have team members that do things I used to do, so I only have to focus on a few key areas that happen to be my strengths. This frees up a lot of headspace for me. It’s also right downstairs. I don’t have to travel more than 20 steps from my coffee beans to make art. Some people like to get out of the house to do this. I know from experience this can be beneficial for focus. The time of life that I’m currently in - kids in school, my wife works and is in grad school, lots of driving people to dance and soccer and piano lessons - it’s just easier to be home. And if I do want to be at the drawing table, I have to focus because my time is limited.
I also have different goals than I did in 2016. I’m blessed with a good job and don’t need to do anything else right now.
Except maybe get some more sleep.