WHAT MAKES A GREAT ARTIST STUDIO?

My new artist studio is totally different from the last. It’s cosy, quite small, almost office-like. But it suits me so well. And it even aided in me finding my signatures style. So I am already so grateful for this small space.

This is where the magic happens! And therefore this place got me thinking: what makes a great art studio?

my former artist studio the fran collages artist 2021
My former studio
my current artist studio the fran collage artist 2021
My current studio

WHAT MAKES A GREAT ARTIST STUDIO ACCORDING TO SOCIAL MEDIA?

We all know the mouth-watering pictures of the ideal artist studio on social media. It’s huge with lots of large windows, a high ceiling, great lighting and filled with humongous works in progress. Ideally there’s also an artist at work. Or pictured with one of these looks: pondering about the great questions of life, a devil-may-care-attitude that suggests they are changing the world whether you like it or not or a happy smile that’s saying: I love my life. That last look is my favourite. Though I am not sure about that artist studio ideal in real life anymore. Because I had that and it did not work. Let me explain:

MY EXPERIENCES IN ‘THE ARTIST STUDIO OF YOUR DREAMS’

I was lucky enough to be able to work in ‘the artist studio of your dreams’. From May until November 2020 I had this huge space to make art with exactly the things every artist seems to be yearning for:

  • lots of large windows
  • a high ceiling
  • lots of light (not very great because it was oriented south but hey, a grumpy ear that pays attention to that!
  • located in a building with other creatives (woodworkers, fabric artists, painters)
  • all the space I could ever need and more to create humongous art
Lot’s of windows and light
High ceiling
All the space you could ever need

The first couple of months were absolutely amazing. My art practice sky rocketed and I produced more art in my first months than I had made during the nine months before that. So I thought I was definitely on the right track.

STUDIO EXPECTATIONS…

But after a couple of months it suddenly changed. Probably influenced by all these great artist studios on Instagram I began questioning my use of the space. Why wasn’t I making humongous art when I obviously had the space for it? Wasn’t it time for me to upscale my work and start working bigger? Not only because that’s what you are supposed to be wanting to do as an artist but because I was having all this space and not using it. Wasn’t that a big middle finger to all the artists who wanted to work big but couldn’t because of their small studio?

So I started working big. I made a huge Applecross Panorama. And let’s be honest: I loved working on it. It was a blast to be able to make painting feel like a serious work-out. But I coulnd’t get myself to finishing it (it still isn’t finished). And that’s just so NOT like me. I am all for finishing what you started and if I can’t finish something that’s usually a very clear sign that I shouldn’t have started it in the first place. So. That party really died. No humongous art for me. And shortly after that realisation I started resenting my space. Feeling like it was just too big for me to fill with my own energy. Like I was too small and the studio too overwhelming to be conducive to my art.

Large art in the artist studio of the fran collage artist 2021
My Applecross Panorama in the making

WHAT REALLY MAKES A GREAT ARTIST STUDIO ACCORDING OT ME

But before I could lose myself in existential drama there was my husband who suggested that it was maybe time to try something different. Something smaller? Something outside the city center without all the noises? And before I knew it I found myself on the outskirts of town. In a small, office-like studio space with a wooden wall on one side. Looking out over industrial rooftops and lots of trees, straight to the epic brutalist architecture of Het Provinciehuis van Brabant. And I found myself again as an artist. This space with its ancient office carpet and rattling heating does something to me. It makes me feel like I come home every time I go to work.

my great artist studio at the moment
Small but cosy
great views from my artist studio
Great views
perfect artist chair
Perfect chair to cook up new ideas

WHAT WOULD MAKE YOUR IDEAL ART STUDIO?

So there you have it. My great artist studio does not fit the usual requirements. But from day one it encouraged my artistic practice and did not have great expectations that smothered my creativity.

What would make a great art studio according to you? And do you already have your ideal artist studio or are you still looking for it? I would love to hear about it in the comments.

Thank you for reading and until next week!