Home Sculptor Business A View From the Easel During Times of Quarantine

A View From the Easel During Times of Quarantine

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This is the 185th installment of a series in which artists send in a photo and a description of their workspace. In light of COVID-19, we’ve asked participants to reflect on how the pandemic has impacted their studio space and/or if their work process has changed while quarantining. Want to take part? Please submit your studio! Just check out the submission guidelines.

I work in an old dentist’s office. The space is rough and unfinished. This suits my practice just fine. I like to be surrounded by my tools and materials. Having everything out and available allows me to grab what I need quickly and without much thought. I work instinctively moving from mark-making to collage, to pouring and scraping paint, always looking for connections from disparate ideas. I move from wall to floor, to wall again, experimenting on multiple surfaces at the same time. My process is physical and the studio reflects that. It is organized chaos much like my finished paintings. I feel blessed to have a space where I can dream, play, reflect, and produce art. It brings me so much joy.

Joe Davidson, Los Angeles, California

I feel very fortunate, especially in 2020, to have a home studio (though I perpetually fret and wonder about being in a studio complex with other artists). The studio is a modified two-story garage, with a separate shop. Because I tend to work in a multitude of materials, the space can get pretty chaotic as I try to keep focus on common threads and themes in the work. Lately I’ve been working on these tinted cast hydrocal sculptures, where I use balloons as the molds. The sculptures show full acknowledgment of gravity as they slump and sag, in contrast to the celebratory airiness inherent in balloons. I’m enjoying this notion of the deflating object (be it the saccharine excitement about Koons’s balloon sculptures or the metaphor of the flaccid balloon — it’s a middle-age death thing).  Talking to a friend the other day, we were describing both our work with the phrase “party’s over,” be it on the scale of America’s place or in a very personal sense.  Though my studio practice hasn’t changed dramatically since Covid, the sense of isolation from the rest of my art community (I’m lucky if I see two shows a month now) has definitely been amplified.

I moved my studio into this space three years ago, and for the first time since the 1990s I can step back to view my work. But my paintings have gotten smaller lately, so I end up squished into the lighted corner with a big space behind me. I’ve been spending more time here since everything closed last March. Somehow, there’s a sense of urgency to make as much as possible during this weird time, but I’m not rushing through anything. There’s a shelf of powdered pigments there and a table for making paint. I started researching old methods, layered paint, and historical materials some years ago, and it’s become a regular practice to grind paint at the easel. This period feels like a right time to wade in and tie up some technical loose ends. There’s a fireplace there, but as nice as the idea is, it’s blocked by a stack of canvases and probably always will be.

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