#4. Cleaning it up

Every so often, we need to clean it up, the mess. Maybe your studio is your kitchen table, your basement or garage, a corner of the living room, a loft, or a space in an old mill—it’s wherever you make your art. My studio has been all of these places, and I am one of those notoriously right-brained artists, whose work is, for the most part, all over the map (more about that later) and also all over the floor, walls, and every available horizontal surface. I revel in my creative process, which includes but is not limited to drawing, painting, gluing, wiring, tearing, twisting, building, sawing, sketching, stitching, hammering, and writing. Until suddenly—there comes a point where things are getting lost in the creative mess. Like tools and materials, self-confidence, motivation and vision. Focus, intention and drive. 

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This is, I kid you not, my studio in process of being cleaned up and reorganized a few weeks ago. 

As artists, we (some of us) love our messes, but when they get out of hand,  well, one has to clean them up in order to move forward. Move things around, rearrange, pitch, let go. Put the old work away to make room for the new. It’s a challenge, at least for me—letting go of old work, past mistakes, and people who are no longer part of the picture. But when the cleaning up thing takes place, it’s amazing what happens…  new ideas, new people, new work all begin to show up.   

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Embarrassing…!! But that’s why I’m here, doing this– putting myself into a new and courageous place. (Just getting into the studio is pretty damn courageous, especially when it looked like this. )

Is your studio practice fueled by headlong creative onslaught, or focused and preconceived concepts? Are you organized and methodical in your art approach, or energetic and spontaneous? (I guess it’s fairly obvious which one I am.)

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Truth be told, I would love to have little elves come in once a week and tidy things up in my studio. But then, they probably wouldn’t know where to begin, and I probably wouldn’t be able to work in such an organized space. (Hmm. Food for thought.)

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My faithful studio assistant, Theo.