Monday, February 23, 2015

Extraneous work (10): the studio

The studio of a contemporary mixed media artist can be quite a messy affair. -Wikipedia

The occasional need to clear this mess is not what I mean with extraneous work, in fact there is part creation in reorganizing, and I always come across drawing/paintings/sculptures that need some finishing touch... which means I seldom arrive at clearing and cleaning in a straight line.

The real extraneous work lies in procuring a studio. The reason to post on this subject is this: after 5 years I've had to move out of my very excellent painting studio in Nijmegen (10 years if i count my sculpture workshop). This meant I also had to move all my equipment and storage elements, all my paintings and sculptures, quite a small disaster.

Over the past 23 years, I've had 7 different studios, and number 8 is now a happy fact (pictures to follow).

This moving around is extraneous to my creating art. However, a studio is a very important thing and I cannot afford to not put my energy in finding a good one. As always, things would be different if my budget were less tight. Paying around €300 a month is no small change, but I know it is hard to get a comparable studio for the same price. For this reason I m happy with the non-profit foundation SLAK, which provides artists in Nijmegen and Arnhem with affordable studios (temporary) and semi-affordable ones (permanent).

I would qualify for a permanent studio from SLAK (being a tenant for 22 years), but the price tag accordingly is much higher. Finally as an emergency back-up I have a small studio in our garden. It served me well during a time in my chronic illness when I could not even muster energy to work away from home.

Anyway, the past three months (!) have been largely spent on moving (I am happy to say that my new studio is excellent as well, although it is twice as far from where I live than my previous one). Seen over the years, it becomes clear that the studio is responsible for quite some extraneous work. Not only for me, but for many artists, since my situation is a very common one.

All in all I hope to have made clear in this series (on extraneous work as an artist) that apart from all the directly-art-related work, an artist has to put in many hours of extraneous work simply to be able to create art and to be seen and recognized in doing so. As a consequence, most artists ask prices for their work which yield very low hourly rates when all the extraneous work is factored in. And yet many people still consider these prices to be high :-).

Now for the good news: moving to my new studio has indeed forced me to reevaluate, reconsider, reorganize,... almost every aspect of my artistic endeavour. GOOD! I have started on a new sculpture. I am also working in my head, planning, evaluating, considering... where do I want to go next with my painting? Change has come, and I feel just a little excited about this.

Finally some mobile pics (poor quality):

dismantling the old studio
dismantling the old studio...

new painting storage
my new painting and drawing storage

furnishing my new studio
furnishing my new studio