For me, the concept of a studio is very different from the reality. You see photos of the great artists in their studios, and it sets an archetype in your mind of what a studio should be. Because of this, from my GCSEs to A levels, the studio wasn’t something I knowingly had. I would work downstairs at the table, or in my room at my desk. When I got to Art Foundation we were suddenly given this space to call our studio, and even though it was a small desk in a studio that constantly smelt like bird poo, I was rather chuffed.
I wasn’t really sure how to use it, however. And when I think back on it I would occasionally work in my studio space then, but mainly in the workshops and in my room at home. I didn’t really ‘get’ what the studio was until I came to Uni. Now, I see the studio as a designated space to make art in. When you are in that space you make art, and then you go home. A day’s work.
I find this very strange. Surely this means your practice is limited to the studios? Creativity doesn’t work like that. Just because I enter into this creative environment, doesn’t mean I’ll make work. And when I go home I don’t stop making work and thinking about art.
Perhaps the studio is more of a designated creation zone. Your practice is constant, but it transforms from potentiality to actuality in the studio.
I feel like my studio at home is more of a studio space to me than the studios at Uni.
I have an unnecessarily large desk with ample space to work. A constant supply of tea and food. Every book I own, plus my library books, available to me. My laptop. But most importantly, my speakers, recording devices, instruments, and above all somewhere quiet.
The studios at Uni are lovely in that they are very social, very creative, and a generally pleasant environment to be in. This year compared to last, my practice has evolved to one that is embedded in the manipulation and exploration of sound, words, and reading. All of these things are quite difficult to work with in an open plan, distracting environment.
I enjoy the solitude that my home studio provides. I can crack on with my work and delve into different bits and pieces without having to plan in advance. Taking breaks is crucial to keeping my attention occupied as well: a valuable way of working for me (which I did a lot during A levels) was to take a break in the middle of the day from my arts practice to practice my violin instead.
My artistic practice is very thought through. My line of philosophical enquiry is constant in my own work and how I understand others, so to play the violin for a bit is a much needed break. When I play the violin, I’m thinking about how to play a passage cleanly, how to perfect a scale, how to change my technique to create a better tone. The things I’m thinking about are embedded in practicality and musicality, not philosophy. Especially now that my violin is more involved in my artistic practice, I really need this space at home to utilise this time.
If I only used the studio at home, my work would really suffer. The studios at uni provide a change of scene, conversations and critiques (of my own and my peers’ work) and an insight into other courses’ ways of working. I love coming in to see what my friends on ceramics are working on, or how things are going in graphic design, and so on. The community across courses that the uni provides is something I appreciate a lot, especially when I’m still exploring what my own practice is and how it related to other peoples.