Studio Space

Finding and setting up a studio: 

When working outside an organization like a school or residency, it might be difficult to find space to work after school. For some this is easier than others. If your practice involves a lot of equipment: sculpture, ceramics, printmaking etc, there are a lot of places that have shared situations out there. There are artist communities everywhere and with a little research, it shouldn’t be too difficult to find a place to work. Many artists work from home. If you decide to do this and you work in any sort of dangerous materials, be sure to keep you working space separated from your living space. Sleeping in clay dust for example, or breathing in resin fumes is really not the path to a long and healthy life. Be smart about it. That said, I have found that if you need to make work, you will find a way!

Sharing studio space: You are all in a situation right now in which you share space, materials and technology. Some do this better than others. You will find yourself in this situation again, I can almost guarantee it. Should you find yourself needing to share space, I could write a book filled with what to do and what not to do. However, it all comes down to compatible personalities. My best advice is to encourage an atmosphere of mutual respect. Learn to communicate in a direct way rather than being passive aggressive. A studio mate can be your best advocate, can help you see your work objectively and broaden your circle of contacts. Creating a climate of mutual respect is fairly simple and if you speak about that as your goal, the culture you create in the studio won’t have room for toxic energy.


19 thoughts on “Studio Space

  1. I have found that keeping space tidy in common areas in the apartment I share with another artist is really helpful as far as avoiding disagreements. I assume it will be the same with studio space probably? Is it smart to have clearly defined boundaries and then let up if things are going smoothly instead of winging it and making up rules as you go?

    • In my experience, clearly defined boundaries are the best way to go right from the get go. this way there is no room for unintentionally hurt feelings down the road. It might seem weird in the beginning- and I think a lot of us don’t like to come off as a jerk on first impressions.- but I have to say- it works so much better by creating a climate of mutual respect. And yes- keeping common areas tidy certainly goes a long way to maintaining good relationships in the studio.

  2. In foundations Angie talked about how part of her studio practice was just cleaning her studio, does having a clean or messy studio impact the work? also what are some ways to set up a small at-home studio?

  3. How would you go about finding someone to share a studio space if you are not familiar place and the artist groups/people there? Would it be better to start at home, establishing your self in the area and making connections/networking to find someone who would be willing to share a studio space.

  4. There are several places in Rochester, NY that offer studio-for rent. It would be like going to an office where it is easier to focus and also be surrounded by a supportive community of other artists who can all help each other grow and evolve.

  5. How can you find studio spaces for rent? I imagine its mainly in cities that you can find these and I know about the ones in Philadelphia due to my former professors but, if I plan to move to a new city I wonder how I would go about finding those resources. Glass artists have a tight knit community to refer people and studios that allow me to find shared spaces but, I have trouble having roommates let alone small scale studio mates.

  6. I found out about a huge building that was converted into studio spaces that seem relatively affordable in my hometown of Yonkers, NY by attending my town’s version of the Alfred Art Walk. By going every year and participating, I’ve been welcomed into this community and some have even bought prints of my work! I recommend going to open studio events where you plan on potentially having a studio space, that way you broaden your artistic community and gave feedback from artists currently practicing in the space.

  7. Studio space is super important to have. I have thought about after school where I would work, and I think having a separate area is important. to separate work and living and have a place to focus. Although I think it would be hard to find a good community or studio space in a smaller town or city. Also, I have heard some artists work out of storage units before, is this a good option?

  8. This is definitely a major concern for me during breaks and something I am nervous about after I graduate. During break I do not have a space to make art and feel as though I am wasting valuable time. This is a major part of the reason that grad school seem so tempting, because it granties a place for you to work. Another thing you discussed that is important is community, I don’t expect Alfred to be the only art community I am apart of, but I do not feel particularly at home here, specifically with me fellow peers, so I guess my question is what to you do when you have to be apart of a community that isn’t compatible?

  9. I am definitely concerned about studio arrangments in the future especially, shared studio spaces since as artist we all like to have our own spaces and some of us are more organized than others so If I was going to share a space with someone I would want them to organize the space in a similar way.

  10. Although I’ve considered having my own individual studio space or working in a large shared studio, I’ve never considered renting a small space for myself and working with a few other artists in a more intimate setting. This seems to have benefits though! Aside from what was suggested above, I image working closely beside a few other artists for an extended period would allow them to advise/critique work based on your process/practice/and recent growth. Seeing someone’s art/practice develop overtime would enable you to speak candidly and confidently when providing feedback. That seems like a nice solution, almost similar to the small class groups/studio spaces we share now.

  11. Is there some sort of resource available that’s good to find artist communities? Additionally, is it common or difficult to start up your own and collaborate? Just curious. I’ve definitely always shared studio space, and although I’m not wild about it, it’s a lot more cost friendly.

    I’ve known quite a few people with little studio set-ups in a shed, notably an old friend’s mother, who has an entire ceramics set up.

  12. I love setting up studios, especially in nontraditional spaces. I have a habit of sprawling and allowing the work to fill the space in which I have access. This is the hardest part of work in spaces with others. It is important to be mindful and considerate of what is being shared and not over stepping. As I travel this summer, I hope to set up outdoor studio spaces within campsites. The biggest challenge I forsee is being mindful of weather patterns and wandering campers. It should be an interesting approach to managing a studio space.

  13. As someone who paints and normally works in solitude with easily transportable materials, this was a good reminder that even though it’s possible, try and keep your living and studio spaces separate for your own health. However as someone who also works with printmaking processes, I have always wondered how artists do it after graduating, seeing as print is such a studio-based process. My print professor said that it is somewhat difficult to continue after you’re out of school and that you need to rely on networking to find the “underground print scene” in order to find a studio to share. This can be slightly overwhelming to add to the long list of things you have to independently figure out after you graduate and I’m finding that a lot is dependent on where you are. Is there any advice for finding the best place to take your practice after you graduate without traveling all over the world and trying out all the different cities and communities you could potentially live in?

  14. I think having an open space with less walls made by carts and things is nice way to keep communication between studio mates. It is defiantly a world of difference when you get along with studio mates. Having a friend as a studio mate makes time fly and brings great conversation about your work.

  15. As we are all working from home right now I find it very difficult to be in a creative space at my kitchen table. Being away from a true studio, it’s hard to be motivated, and distancing definitely doesn’t help with inspiration. Are collaborative/shared studio spaces advertised to seek out artists?

  16. Wow this feels very relevant right now as I do my homework on the same surface I eat and make are. Such is the covid life. It seems to me that work can happen anywhere but more space is better. It is definitely important to find personality’s that can communicate effectively and are respectful of other peoples spaces. The community studio an be such an amazing work environment and an absolute nightmare.

  17. I do not work in clay, so id did not realize that something like clay dust could be harmful to you in the long run. I work in my basement, but even so, I should probably try harder to make sure I use unsafe materials outside where there is ventilation. Now in quarantine, I find it a lot harder to productively work at home after having my first studio experience at Alfred. Should you always try to seek out studio space or, if you have the opportunity to work from home, should you just make it work?

  18. Learning to live together in an apartment with others is a lot like learning to work together with other in a space. I think the most key thing is communication, but first out sitting together and taking about what priorities and expectation you have for the space with the others involved before you commit to a lease is best. Getting to know what each person top frustration would be and together making a set of respectful rules to follow as best you can.

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