In today's mode of techno-voyeurism, we're constantly peeking into the factory to see how the sausage is made. The artist's studio has always had an allure, the inchoate site of creativity, the setting for private practice—like an escort's boudoir, the biggest mystery is, what do they do when they're alone in there?
We zoom in closer to see what artists keep on their most personal work space: their desk. What does it reveal about them, or about their art? We invite artists from very different disciplines to share their images and reflect on what is going on, in, on top of, and around their worktop—and why.
Here is my tiny Japanese desk right now: this photo doesn’t really do it justice. The only way to approach it is by sitting on the floor crosslegged, or on top of my camera bag. This can get uncomfortable pretty quick when editing, so I have to get up and move around a lot...
I have a bunch of different cameras with me, film and digital. I don’t really have a preference, it's just always good to have a back up with you in case one melts down. Two paper rolls in the corner I can carry with me to throw up a backdrop anywhere, passports, hard drives, and a t-shirt I picked up in Harajuku.
Since I’ve been in Tokyo my go-to for food is the convenience store up the street. There’s an assortment of snacks on the desk to keep me motivated: onigiri rice balls, cookies, grape hi-chew candy, American spirit cigarettes, and BOSS coffee, so I can feel like Tommy Lee Jones.
Artist, Los Angeles
My Office is one of my biggest accomplishments in my life so far. When I was little, my favorite game was to pretend to be a very stressed and angry business woman. I'm still pretending.
My Office is the room-of-my-own I always wished for. As soon as I close the doors of Suite 1717 I have the freedom to work on my desk or read on the sofa, but also to get naked, stretch, dance, practice choreographies and sing. It is the safe space therapists always promise.
During lunch break I get dressed, leave the suite, nod to the lawyers and accountants I share the floor with, say goodbye to the secretary at the front desk, pick up my mail and go get a salad somewhere between Grand and 6th.
After grabbing a coffee I come back.
Most afternoons there’s a golden light of a pinkish hue that fills up the room. When that happens, I like to sit on the floor and meditate. Sometimes I do this later in the day, after hours, and scare the janitor who comes by everyday to empty my bin.
I feel sorry about that, and do the job for her.
Then I keep on working, or staring at the ceiling, or painting my nails listening to Mexican radio.
My desk tends to look like it’s on the verge of chaos most of the time, mostly because it is. For someone who makes quite precise abstract work I always feel that my studio should reflect this but more often that not it’s an absolute mess! I’ve been doing a bit of painting lately, gouache, so there are brushes, water pots, paper etc. I have a to-do list on the wall—if it’s not there in front of me I tend to forget and I like to have what I’m working on around me so there are always bits on the wall.
The way I use my desk changes quite often depending on what I’m up to. I’ve got my cutting mat and ruler around as I do a lot of stencil cutting and finishing off of prints here as well as using it a screenprinting table—I’ve been doing some 56 x 76 cm monoprints on here in preparation for heading back into the print studio.
There’s also a hard ground etching plate that I’ve been carrying around with me since 2009 and flowers from my sister that are already dead so I can’t kill them.
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