January 15, 2011

The Travails of a Live-Work Space

If your creative work space is anything like mine, I offer my profound condolences.  A live-work space is a formidable commodity to control if you juggle a full life AND endeavor to ritualistically squeeze out a few pieces of art.  This is why artists often have what is referred to as a separate "studio"...or as I prefer to call it, the unattainable, but wildly fantasized "Le Place d'Art".

When I was a kid, my bedroom was my studio.  My easel, if you will, was the surface of my bed where I would sit Indian-style, deep into the night, quietly listening to Led Zeppelin's IV ad nauseam, while working alone in my bedroom.  Being an introspective only-child made this easy to do.  I was never disturbed, not at those hours, and I find the memories of those freely creative, late nights to embody my young life. 

Now an adult, my bedroom is, curiously, still my studio - as well as my kitchen, living room, and office.  It is a room with a southward view and robust sunlight.  A studio by definition of real estate, it is based largely, as it were, on its meager size, not by its salivation-inducing distant cousin.  Living in a space not much larger than my childhood bedroom has proven to be simultaneously ironic and comforting.  Life typically causes our spacial requirements to expand - certainly mine has expanded and shrunk again over the years - but when I assess my live-work space, I have enough to accommodate both functions and negotiating the two within a small area always begins with good intentions.

But let me be frank: good intentions does not art produce.  Once the week's cumulative archaeological site of clothing, purses, laptops, gym bags and lunch bags has been cleared from the artistic working area, Pavlov's law does not suddenly take effect.  Tragic as it is, to sit at the table, paintbrush cradled in the palm, with the intention "to art" does not involuntarily fire the brain's creative synapses, causing a sudden flow of paint onto the paper.  Suffice it to say that making this constant and automatic connection has been one of life's enduring and puzzling difficulties. 

On the other hand, a dedicated art studio space lends focus not only to creativity, but also momentum, being continually devoid of the trappings of technology (with any luck and self control), toppling piles of the latest home furniture and intimate wear catalogues (must they send so many?), laundry in the wash queue, outstanding parking tickets to pay, birthday cards to send, and glasses of wine to drink (can one really drink and draw?).  And let us not be remiss in forgetting about the partially written, nonsensical, blog drafts.  Oh blasphemy!

What I can say in defense of having live & work joined in sometimes disharmonious union, is the constant supplicating that the creative space presents, with its coy but appropriate position, central in the room, gently imploring to gain my attention.  Art is a flirtatious nymph, longing for a visceral stroke.  With that, I must go clear off a table.  There is work to be done.


  1. Alyson,

    Great to hear, do you have a photo gallery of this space?

    Ryan Emge

  2. Ryan - Yes, I do. I'll work that into a future posting. Thanks for stopping in for a read!

  3. You write like a true artist. :-)