Welcome to the 219th installment of A View From the Easel, a series in which artists reflect on their workspace. As we begin the new year, we’re highlighting submissions from throughout 2023: Artists consider their work from a different vantage point, improvise in tight spaces, reflect on old studios, and fill their space with the “stuff” of art.
Want to take part? Check out our submission guidelines and share a bit about your studio with us! All mediums and workspaces are welcome, including your home studio.
Ingrid Mayrhofer, St. Joseph de Mekinac, Quebec, Canada
As a printmaker, I trained at a large and well-equipped university studio, with massive presses and separate rooms for each step of the process. My away studio presents a completely different view. Not only is it part of my goal as an artist in the 21st century to be as mobile as I possibly can, but the mosquito tent is set up in what Canadians call the “bush,” nowhere near any city. Located in the larger municipality of Trois Rives, La Mauricie, Quebec, the studio sits on a parcel of land on which my partner’s parents had built a cabin in the ’50s. There is no running water other than the lake, and the cabin is too small for a printmaking table, even a folded one. From my regular residence in the Greater Toronto Area, I take the train to Montreal, where my partner picks me up by car for a three-hour drive northeast. So, all the supplies, tools, and materials have to fit into my rolling teacher’s bag. The drying rack (under the table) is a layer of felt mesh from the now-defunct paper mill in Shawinigan. On windy days, I use tomato stakes to hold down my prints.
Haoua Habre, Lower East Side, New York
The point of view I would never have. Sometimes I climb the ladder in my studio and see things from another point of view. As if I were someone else observing my work. I adopt another angle of view, and my work takes on another form. My studio is a space where my imagination takes on a physical form. Ideas in progress, projects begun, desires, dreams. But it’s not a mess. I live in Paris and am currently on a residency program in NYC. My studio is located in one of my favorite neighborhoods, the vibrant LES. Every time I walk down the streets of LES, I think of the song by Santigold called “LES Artistes” and this passage in particular:
Change, change, change, change
Don’t want to get up out of my skin
Tell you what, if I can shake it, I’ma make this
Something worth dreaming of
Over the years, my work has developed combining the elements and principles of design with the truth and simplicity of Zen thought. I work in assemblage using found objects that attract my interest. The objects may come from the ground, a scrap pile, a hardware store, or my dinner plate. My aim is to unify the materials giving them a new life that supplies the viewer with pleasure, curiosity, and a bit of mystery. My studio is filled to capacity with a large variety of “stuff,” not usually found in an art studio along with the typical art materials like canvas, paint, and adhesives. Lately my work has focused on our environment and the animals that are endangered or threatened by our misuse of resources that have been given to us by the planet Earth.
Basil King, Park Slope, Brooklyn
My studio occupies the front room on the parlor floor of our 17-foot-wide row house in Park Slope, Brooklyn. In this image, you are seeing my current studio without work on the well-used easel. In the past 20 years, in addition to paints, I’ve used a variety of materials including colored oil chalks and molding paste that build texture and create depth in my works on canvas, paper, and board.
My studios have been varied. I’ve lived in this house 54 years. During those years my studio has occupied the entire third floor of our house, it has occupied the ground floor of an old building in Vinegar Hill, Brooklyn, and for many years my studio was a vast space in an industrial building in what is now Industry City, Brooklyn. Before Brooklyn, I had a studio at the old Anderson Theater on Second Avenue and 4th Street, illegal live/work spaces on Whitehall Street, and my first studios were at Black Mountain College, North Carolina, where I landed at 16 years old in 1951.