your studio is like a pair of jeans

by     /    March 24, 2007   

Paula at Self Taught Artist recently posted a picture of her studio, and suggested we all do the same. It’s always fun to see someone else’s studio. An artist’s studio is their primary tool: the home base for their creativity. A studio is like a pair of jeans, worn out and frayed, yet perfectly fitting your body and the way you move and work. Rarely can an artist go into another’s studio and feel at home: it will always chafe in some places. (Hmm, maybe I am stretching this metaphor too far.) The way a studio is arranged and organized (or more likely, disorganized) also gives a little insight into how that artist thinks and works. Which tools are out and which are put away. What piles have accumulated. What props are lying around. What projects are filed away, and which are constantly “in progress”.

Here’s what one corner of my studio looks like today. (I’ll have to add more pictures in the future.) This is the most important spot, my shooting table where all of my art begins. It’s a combination of homemade hacks and newish tools, a jumble of wires and clamps and lights. It’s a mess, and I love it. It feels like an extension of my eyes and my hands, a tool that lets me see farther and deeper than I could alone.

Daniel Sroka’s studio

What a wonderful mess! It’s taken me years to achieve this perfect level of messy functionality. The shooting table itself is a spare shelf propped up on two saw horses. The black box on top is a “shooting tent” I use to control the light that shines on and behind a subject. It is made of some leftover metal frames, mini-clamps, copper wire and some scrap cloth. Some of the lights I have are made just for photography, like the fancy fluorescent panel, while others I got at Home Depot for $5. The backdrop is more scraps of cloth, looped over a length of bamboo.

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Comments on 'your studio is like a pair of jeans'

paula  (March 25th, 2007):

Great description of your own studio, I can FEEL how it is an extension of your arms and hands. Its fascinating. Looks robotic and alive structurally. I envy your windows and white walls….

Daniel Sroka  (March 25th, 2007):

“Robotic and alive”… I love that! There’s some truth to it too. I never feel more creative than with a camera or computer in my hands. The room does get great light. It was this odd, unfinished room that I fell in love with when my wife and I were househunting. It almost felt like it was just waiting there for me to show up and complete it.

Daniel Sroka: Open Studio :: Art and News: Spring 2007  (May 10th, 2007):

[…] your studio is like a pair of jeans […]

Jean Levert Hood  (July 22nd, 2007):

“messy functionality” – I love it, Dan! That’s a good description of my studio also. It fits, feels good, and I can operate in it perfectly. It may totally be wrong for someone else, but it is mine!
I’ll post a photo of my studio on my blog soon.