This is the 182nd installment of a series in which artists send in a photo and a description of their workspace. In light of COVID-19, we’ve asked participants to reflect on how the pandemic has impacted their studio space and/or if their work process has changed while quarantining. Want to take part? Please submit your studio! Just check out the submission guidelines.
Anne Muntges, Jersey City, New Jersey
My studio has become an oasis, an urban glowing desert, since the shut down for pandemic began in Brooklyn. Drawing is my refuge from the chaos in the world. It helps me to process information and build worlds that ease my anxiety.
I was fortunate in that the pandemic aligned with a residency and studio space at Mana Contemporary. My work ebbs between traditional drawing, pen and ink, and immersive drawing installations — three-dimensional objects transformed into drawings. Hunkering down as we have in the city, plants felt therapeutic. It only felt natural to begin to build them up obsessively during this time so that I could begin to surround myself with the comfort of their nurturing presence.
Piece by piece, this work keeps growing and with the time given in the slowdown, I will continue to convert this landscape until I am fully immersed in drawing and plants.
Nancy Azara, Woodstock, New York
On Tuesday, March 17, my partner and I fled our Tribeca studio for Woodstock, NY. The city streets were deserted — no St. Patrick’s Day Parade, no people. At first I felt shell-shocked as we had in the middle of 9/11. The fear on the faces of neighbors, the fear on the news programs, our own fear and confusion mixed into a kind of paralysis.
In Woodstock, living in the mountains with its trees and sky was healing. Gradually, I began to work again. The large vine pictured in the back of the photo was adjusted onto a steel base. I named it “The Cradle.” The Young Cherry tree, which died after blooming, began another life, between human and tree … and the familiar pattern which I spent my days in the studio returned. The old barn is perfect in the summer as it has no heat and is open to the elements. Its space keeps the trajectory of a tree with branches and trunks and vines in dialogue.
In the background are works in stages of completion. I sit and look at them, not having any idea of what to do next. In spite of all of this, it was a beautiful spring. Bleak times, yet the garden brought daffodils and tulips and happy singing birds.
A month ago my husband suggested we rip out some old carpet and repaint our unfinished basement so we could turn it into a studio space! It has poor lighting and it’s not ideal, but it’s mine! I’ve just begun to make new work in the studio and I am loving it. I am home with my seven-year-old when I work, so she has a little corner where she can color and draw with me. I think it’s important for her to see me painting and preparing for shows. I also gave her a wall to paint all by herself and she chose to make a mural of her pet fish “Bubbles.” (It’s awesome.) This new studio space means I have so much more space to work in. I can finally paint larger now that I’m not stuck at a small desk in the living room. At the beginning of the pandemic I felt too overwhelmed to make art. But this autumn I have had a real jolt of creative energy. I have been making a lot of new work and planning new projects!
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