What does the interior architecture of the artist's workspace tell us about their process and practice? In psychoanalytic terms, it's often assumed that the artist's studio is a reflection of the artist's thinking.
But nowadays, the spaces artists inhabit are very different than what they once were: they've had to adapt to a more migratory life, squeezed by bigger economic problems. The desk is really the only universal marker left, a synecdoche of the artist's studio; it's where the action is caught in motion, where bureaucracy and creativity meet—whether it's on a laptop screen in a hotel room in Las Vegas, an industrial loft in Brooklyn, or a bedroom floor in London.
This week, we've invited three very different artists who will be presenting their work at the artist-led stARTup Art Fair for unrepresented artists, opening next week in Los Angeles, to share their desk space with us.
For two years I have been making collages out of a Naruto manga book, using only a hole punch and a Vogue fashion magazine and occasionally, scissors.
I have limited myself severely on purpose. The series is called The Holes in Naruto. My work has spun in on itself in these images as I began to enlarge the pieces of the holes in Naruto collages into digital prints. Rather than mixing media, I like to cross mediums, i.e. What if a collage became a photograph? These works reference themselves to the point of implosion and they can only exist in a digital form. The latest version uses the collages as source material for making carvings into plastic using a CNC router. In the carvings, I make layers like a color separation, only I use depth instead of color. I am trying to answer for myself one question,:what are the requirements of an "image" in our world? An image is a shifting target—what we make and can see today would have been completely incomprehensible even only 50 years ago.
San Jose, CA
One wall of my studio is painted with colors and patterns. I use this wall to hang up little bits I find inspiring, whether it's moss, a scrap of fabric, or old artwork. It's a visual inventory of objects I find interesting. It's an area to try new things without any attachment or judgement. I will hang sketches or maquettes on this wall for contemplation until I am ready to do something more with them.
Mitra Fabian will be in Room 118 at stARTup Art Fair, from January 29–31 at Highland Gardens Hotel, 7047 Franklin Avenue, Hollywood, LA.
As a painter, I rely heavily on my pencil and watercolor crayons which is why they take up a lot of space on my studio desk. They are the beginning. Across from my desk (not pictured here) is my table with paints, brushes, sponges and rags. Behind my desk is the large painting wall. On the desk is my iPad: an integral part of my process for sketching and experimenting with color. I save paint this way. Gouache sets and various pens and inks and the sketchbook are part of this experimenting. The orange envelope contains photographs I have taken. I sometimes use my own photos as inspiration. There is a gold ceramic sculpture of a devil and my kids' annual school pictures which remind me to be positive. The jars under my table are filled with powdered glass which I use in creating glass panels (blue flower leaning against window). Under the desk (which is really an old door) is the kiln and a glass pedestal. Hanging from the kiln is a studio sweater as my studio is not heated and it has been a chilly winter.
Image at the top: Dana Zed, Room 128.
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