For some time now, it has been my practice to initiate studio visits. Over my career, I have invited artists and curators into my studio and I have asked other artists if I could come to their studio. I have found this to be an enriching experience for various reasons and, because of that, I highly recommend this practice.
There are many reasons why you might consider visiting someone else’s studio or inviting someone into yours. Here are some:
You can become inspired. Being alone in your studio can be terribly isolating and can create an atmosphere that can be terribly dissuasive. Getting out of your studio or inviting other people into it can be a way of accessing an infusion of stimulation. Seeing the creative spaces of other artists is always interesting, informative and motivational. Artists are notorious collectors of books, objects and images that inspire them in some way. Seeing them will also be an inspiration to you. When other people come into your workspace, you may see it anew through their eyes. In addition, visiting artists may see connections between your books and other inspirational items and your art. This kind of insight can only help to inspire you.
Your thoughts about your work can become clearer. Talking about art orders your thoughts and directs your attention. The very nature of studio visits requires that you explain your work. When you or other artists are asked to explain or articulate the intentions and ideas being expressed in a body of work, it exposes both the strength and weakness of those ideas. This is very important in the refining process.
Your creative impulse can grow. Examining the work of others helps you to place your creative process into an entirely new context. Your creativity is like a muscle – it is made strongest through exercise. When you are in dialogue with another artist, you often find yourself placing your own creativity in the context of other people’s work and thinking. This means that you find yourself facing new situations, new thoughts, and new practices that you may have never considered. This can only help you to grow as an artist.
You can become encouraged. Studio visits are, more often than not, encouraging. Typically, artists see their works through a jaded lens. Other people can see your work without the hindrances you may have. Bringing a new and fresh set of eyes to your work can help you to see it unencumbered by your assumptions and can help you to see it in new ways. Sometimes, all you really need is to hear other people focusing on the strengths of your work not its weaknesses.
You can discover what is important in your work. Artists can often tell artists what’s important in their work. Bringing a new set of eyes to your work can help you to see things within it that you may be blinded to. It can be the case that you are focusing your attention on the wrong element in your work or are blinded to the strongest elements of intuition that is driving it. Seeing it through new eyes can redirect your understanding of the work you are making.
Your imagination can be stimulated. Studio visits can bring new imagination to your work. When artists look at your work, they will often express ways in which they would execute elements within it. This can be very useful. Often, during my practice of studio visits, artists have suggested ways in which I could redirect my work or apply it in new ways. At the very least, I have found this interesting. Many times, however, I have been surprised at how obvious and amazing these ideas are.
You can develop your studio space. Seeing how other people work and the tools they use can be very informative for your own practice. The physical context in which a body of work is created is a useful element in understanding the work you see. Aspects like the lighting, location, and size of a studio can be determining factors within a body of work. Visiting others’ studios may alert you to what factors in your workspace are effecting your work in a negative way.
If you are interested in having a studio visit with Ross Melanson, you can contact him at this link.