I'm movin' out! [of the studio]
I want my own art studio.
That's been the dream for years. I've painted on virtually every floor in my apartment, on hotel room tables, in the van I lived in for 8 months, on dirt back roads, and in my friend's metalworking garage. I've accidentally splattered paint on furniture and once even ruptured the top of a tube, leaving a splotch of teal on my studio apartment ceiling (goodbye, security deposit).
But oh, to have my own art studio — what a dream!
I finally realized this dream recently when I moved into my first ever art studio in Denver. It had everything I'd hoped for — high ceilings, lots of natural light, white walls, and cement floors that wouldn't mind the mess.
All this, yet I moved out a mere 2 months later.. with an open mind and no regrets.
Here are 6 reasons why.
Art = business?
I had a mindset shift after moving into the studio. Suddenly my art (which, don't get me wrong, I love to sell and make money from!) became more of a business. I've tossed this notion around a lot in my mind. It could be an upper limit problem (ie: I am not allowing myself to turn my art into more of a money maker), OR it could be that it just wasn't the right time, OR it could be that I simply don't want to put pressure on my art to provide for me financially in any capacity. All I know is I didn't like the way it felt. Creativity comes much more naturally to me when it's free from any expectation. I am still trying to figure out the balance and what works for me, and in the meantime I will simply pay attention to what feels light.
I'll be honest. At this point, I simply don't feel comfortable spending that percent of my income on an art studio, especially one I am not in love with. I believe in abundance but also in being responsible and realistic. I could pick up another side job to afford the studio, but I don't want to do that. The predicament felt constrictive, and I didn't want to be worried about making rent every month.
This might sound silly, but I've noticed that my state of mind is often closely related to the number of keys on my key chain. At the time I had five sets of keys — my van, apartment, art studio, coffee shop job, and my cousin's apartment where I would pet sit her dog a few times a week. I was running around constantly, going from my apartment to the studio to my cousin's to the gym to my boyfriend's house, all in one day. I prefer to take every day slowly and feel rooted. By eliminating a few 'keys' I've found a pace that lets me breathe.
While everyone at the studio was super nice and welcoming, it wasn't the environment I was looking for. Almost every time I went into the studio it was empty. I would prefer to be in a more energetic, collaborative environment where artists are also business-minded, because strategy and vision gets me going, too.
Like many artists, I often find inspiration striking at random times. While I live by the quote "Inspiration is for amateurs — the rest of us just show up and get to work" (Artist Chuck Close) I would also like to be near my tools during those inconvenient moments, like at 3 a.m. or in the shower. That's why I think a home studio might suit me better.
I know this is totally on me, but the studio quickly felt like office, probably because I spent 9-5 there nearly every day. This circles back to the money. I wanted to make sure I was taking full advantage of having the studio and not wasting it away — another reason why a live/work space might better suit me. I like having the two blend seamlessly so it doesn't feel like work work, if that makes sense.
I say all this not to dash your own dreams of moving into an art studio, but to realize that sometimes reality does not match up to our expectations, and that's okay. It's okay to change your mind. It's okay to go back on your plans. And, perhaps most importantly, I think it's okay to have expectations and to be excited about what you think it could be.
Life, and art, is one big experiment. You try something new, you notice how it feels, and you keep going or you pivot. There is no shame in pivoting, rather, I think it should be celebrated! You are evolving and learning, and that is kind of the whole point of this life, isn't it?
I am still open to moving into another art studio one day. And next time I will know what is important and be able to make a more informed decision thanks to this experience.
I would love to hear about your dreams, plans, or realizations. Do you have a studio? Do you want one? Feel free to share in the comments!