Assembling a Studio 1: A Dream of Space

The new studio space, Day 1

The new studio space, Day 1

Every artist has a dream studio - that perfect atelier that is the physical manifestation of their artistic soul. 

A retreat from the complications, loudness and vagaries of the world. A cradle to nurture inspiration into creativity into genius. A space perfectly organized (or chaotic) to fit the exact way we think, create, and move around, with a minimum of friction to pull us out of that artistic zone. A vault to safely keep all of our artwork, materials, and future work. A place where we can play our music as loud as we want, whenever we damn well please.

I try not to think too much about utopian studios - I can create in any place or space as long as I have my papers, a place to draw, and a place to cut. I’ve worked on tatami floors, saggy beds, and professional tables. In offices, bedrooms, and department stores. 

Having said that, there are a couple things I really, really, really want, and, I'm told, it's good to have goals. Even if they’re just basic ones.


  • One big, long, sturdy table (in my head, its chunky wood) with various work spaces - the place I do my drawing (sketching can be done on a train, in the park, on the sofa), the cutting station, and a lot of space to spread out papers and try combinations. This sits comfortably inside an open area, so I can move all around it. No more drawing while staring at the wall.

  • A place to store all of these papers. Right now, they’re all bundled up in tubes. It’s not a good way to keep them, and not a good way to sift through them to find the right ones to use. I’ve seen papers stored in hanging racks and in sliding drawers. Either way would be lovely (as long as they’re protected from direct sunlight, humidity, etc.

  • Art Storage. Japan is humid. So, so humid. Books, paper, wood, and art can get moldy. Even worse, once mold has invaded a space, its so hard to get rid of. I’ve lost a couple (thankfully minor) pieces to mold in the past, and I’ve taken great pains to make sure it won’t happen again. So, temperature. humidity, and mold control are a pricey must.

  • A separate home for my computer. Oh, sure, it can be in the same building. Even the same room. But a wall or alcove to break up the business space from the creative space would do wonders for my focus. Even though I do often use the computer for creative endeavors as well (research, scanning, laying out sketches into final drawings). This space can hold all my business papers and stuff too.

Other than that, I haven’t really given it much thought. I like my spaces fairly minimalist, with natural tones that won’t sway my color ideas too much. Good lighting. A view of trees or green. Maybe a place to relax a little - a sofa to sketch on. No TV (although I have friends who love letting movies play when they work). I’ve never given much thought to decorating the studio, probably because I’ve always rented and never owned, so wasn’t really allowed to hang shelves or pictures on the walls.  A really good chair - not that I ever sit properly.

How about you?  What's your perfect workspace?