Around this time last year I started to feel like my West Loop studio was not where I wanted to be anymore. The commute to my beautiful white walled, high ceiling studio in the West Loop of Chicago seemed to become more and more difficult until I found myself never really being there at all. I decided last July to sublet it and step into a new studio practice - a home studio.
I moved to a new apartment in September and have since been re-creating what feels like a new place to exist. A new work space, a new way of working, and a place truly all my own that felt safe. Since moving in about 6 months ago, I've been working bit by bit to merge home and work life and create a space that feels right.
While my place didn't need much in renovations or repairs, it did need a new coat of paint - white paint. The original color was something close to eggshell that didn't photograph well, and since this space was not only going to be a living room but also a place to create and document work, the walls needed to be white.
The process of getting this place to where it is now took almost three months because I really needed to go slow with the buying process. So for a while my place was just that round table from a friend and a folding chair.
Ta da! Welcome to my new studio/living room/place where all the magic happens.
A few things I kept in mind when sourcing furniture:
PAINTING IN A LIVE/WORK SPACE
Going from a studio where I could throw paint at the walls, to one that was not exactly meant for artwork can be tricky and requires getting a bit creative about how your space will be functional and productive, but also relaxing and inviting.
Since I need to be more conscious of not staining my floors, I utilize a lot of clear plastic tarps now. Clear tarps are great because they actually photograph nicely in process shots, are excellent for protecting the floors from any liquids, and are really easy to clean and re-use. I designated a corner of my living room to paintings, but when I need to stretch out more and work on multiple pieces at once I roll up my rug, move my coffee table and I have a lot more floor space to work with. My desk is pretty much my catch all. This is where I do my freelance projects, work on small artwork and eat dinner. :)
Everything is easily moved, and it can be moved quickly so the painting process still feels easy, which I think is the key to a great at home studio that's meshed with your living space. It has to feel really cohesive, like home and the work aren't fighting for the space.
WHERE IT'S FROM
Below I've linked all the supplies I used to make this place into a functional live/work space. Nothing is sponsored although IKEA, hit me up because I basically have lived at your store the last few months.
2017 was not my best year yet. I know that seems to be the popular thing to write and for a lot of people it was. But not for me. No for me it was one of my most painful years and it kinda sucked. A lot of things fell apart, people I loved died, some art didn't sell and it felt like an immense growth period I wasn't sure I'd survive or was ready for.
There were wins of course: Being selected for ArtPrize 9, meeting Elle Luna, hanging out with Heather Day, leaving my old studio, finding my current place and really deepening some friendships. But when things were low, they were really low and although every year feels like some kind of roller coaster ride, this year felt like something totally knew. Like literal pieces of my old self were being forced to fall away.
But here we are, December 31, 2017. Still alive, standing on my own and feeling so much lighter. Even though I know I've made some strides, I gotta say New Years generally makes me feel like I didn't accomplish enough. Like I'm not far enough into my career, like I didn't make enough money, like my highlight reel isn't as cool as everyone else's, etc. As this feeling began to wash over me again this year, hitting me even harder thinking about all the fire I had to walk through, I found an old box from my previous art studio.
In my old studio, I would write wants and wishes of anything that would come to mind on pink post it notes and post them all over. No wish was too small, too weird, or too crazy. The other day I found that box and sifted through old wishes from the past couple years. As I sifted through and read some of these, I was pleasantly surprised to realize I had actually made some of these come true.
When I wrote some of these, they seemed like far away fantasies. I literally remember writing some like "have my art featured in a magazine" and thinking "that will never happen". But I did them (a lot of them this year). Somehow I made the impossible possible and these post it notes helped me realize that power.
I've written some 2018 goals now and let me tell you they feel impossible to me. So so far off. But when I look at some of these post its, I can't help but smile because I made the impossible (for me) possible and I can do it again. You can too.
So goodbye 2017. I will not miss you, but I do thank you for helping me to realize my power. And making me a little more fire resistant.