Wednesday, April 16, 2014

new studio tour and some thoughts

A few weeks ago Mike and I made the move from our cozy brick apartment in South Boston to a bright, expansive live/work art studio in Boston's Fenway neighborhood. Fenway Artist Studios is the country's oldest building built expressly for working artists and was deemed a national historic building a few years back thanks to the active artist community. I was walking on air when we first visited and was on the edge of my seat waiting to be approved by the board.

And wow… we love it here! Every morning, I feel like I've hit the lottery. The big 12' windows let in consistent north light and the huge studio space allows me to work on many canvases simultaneously. There are two bedrooms upstairs in a mezzanine-style loft, while the studio takes up the majority of the downstairs level with a living room alcove to the side. The building overlooks the commuter railroad tracks and is neighbors to Berkelee College of Music, Fenway Park and lots of funky restaurants, parks and shopping in between.

Here are a few photos from around the studio...

Three weeks of packing and unpacking gave me a bit of time to reflect on the last few years as an artist. Moving out of South Boston was a little bittersweet... it was our first apartment together, cute and charming, and my studio there was a nurturing place. When I quit my job and we moved to Boston three years ago to pursue painting full time, I had a lot of confidence that it was the right choice, but there are always risks and doubts (and even a few people actually said "don't quit your day job!"). Boston is expensive, especially for an emerging artist and a graduate student, and the financial and emotional commitments were steep.

But… here we are! The risk ended up paying off and my dream flourished. I'm really proud of these last three years! I've sold nearly 8,000 pieces of artwork, was interviewed and published in Oprah Magazine, been hired to create original art for Madison Square Garden and Boston's top hotel and had artwork purchased for the set of a major TV show. I've turned down several lucrative licensing deals because I felt putting my work on particular products and projects wasn't "right" for me (and been turned down for projects that were.)

Most of all, my work has matured and evolved in a way that has allowed me to experiment with different subjects and materials, while remaining unmistakably mine (and still selling! I assume most people reading this blog are artists or creatives so I'm probably preaching to the choir by saying art supplies don't grow on trees and it's necessary to make work that looks good and sells.) Finding my style coincided with navigating the rest of my post-college, mid-twenties life; cultivating habits and relationships that worked, and saying the necessary goodbyes to those that were exhausting or unhealthy. Moving into this new workspace represents all of these successes, and all of the doubt and risk and unknowns being defeated by trial and error, intuition, encouragement and passion.

These next few years will be an awesome challenge... I am energized just thinking about them! I have a lot of goals. As always, I want my painting style to evolve and represent my aesthetic as an artist and my spirit as a person. Truthfully, I'm not a particularly whimsical or joyful person... but I am curious, passionate, restless, questioning and capricious and I see my best work emerge when I embrace that. I want my work to represent my wanderlust spirit, that restless je ne said quoin need in so many of us. I want to focus on seeing more of my work make its way around Boston. I want to travel much, much more, make bigger and better art and have you come visit me in my studio to see it. 

So… here's to Studio 201 and the next three years! Thanks for being a part of it all :)

Sunday, April 6, 2014

sketchbook, page one

"Where I create, there I am true." - Rainer Maria Rilke

The first page of a brand new sketchbook, inspired by my current view… more soon!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

a quick studio move update

Welcome to Studio 201 at Fenway Artist Studios! :)

I know... so empty! Like a big blank canvas just waiting for inspiration. This is the view from the middle of my workspace, looking towards the living room and up to second floor balcony & bedrooms -- there is an open space and three 12' windows behind me. I already love it here.

Hopefully I'll be fully unpacked by tomorrow and have some better studio photos to share with you very soon. Until then, this photo shows Chubby Boots' concern/bewilderment for the whole week I was packing up our old apartment:

And a sign I saw while walking around our new neighborhood:

Get it?! Hehe. Have a great week!

Monday, March 10, 2014

diy dreaming

Well, I'm almost done packing up my studio! Artwork is carefully wrapped, blank canvases are stacked, supplies are (mostly) organized and boxed up. It turns out you can fit a surprising amount of stuff in a tiny 8'x12' space. Now that everything is packed up there's not a whole lot to do art-wise except a little sketching future paintings and dreaming up fun DIY possibilities for our new home.

Our new live/work studio is mostly studio, with a living room and kitchen to the side of the work area and the entryway and two bedrooms on a half-floor upstairs. It calls for some creative solutions in kitchen storage, seating, curtains, etc. I liked this article and the questions it posed about making things instead of buying them... there is something about living with things made by a loving hand that really gives a space personality and makes it feel like home.

Here are some fun projects I'm thinking of taking on...

How cute are these patchwork curtains made from reclaimed fabrics and handkerchiefs? I actually already started this project after measuring our new bedroom window (the ultimate goal being something similar to this). 

This DIY crate bookshelf could be a great option for open kitchen storage; it's inexpensive to make, rustic yet modern, and could be rearranged to fit almost any sized space.

This round doily lantern for light and texture...

This beautiful dip-dyed shower curtain in teal and violet. Our current apartment has a modern tub and a sliding glass shower door (totally terrifying if you have ever had even a minor hospital-bound glass experience... I have) so I am thrilled to get to make this and hang it around our new claw foot tub.  Dyeing fabric is a messy job so this project may be on the back-burner for a little bit until it warms up enough to work outside with the use of Mike's parents' shop sink.

This narrow entryway table from a chippy teal blue shutter I found at an estate sale. 

And lastly, this beautiful table to act as our dining table and counter space. This project looks difficult but I have faith that between Mike and I and his dad's workshop, we could pull it off. 

Let's chat about DIY. What do you think of these projects? Have you tried any of them before? Any tips? Are you a DIY-er, or is it worth it to you to spend a little more to buy something already made? What was your last project that turned out well?