I find myself speaking of peace and serenity a lot these days. Perhaps I am reminding myself out loud about its importance in life. I am officially in the second half of my life and I found it difficult to find people looking for the same quiet lifestyle. I do understand the need to make money, but must it be so chaotic?
How should we do things?
These are difficult economic times. All of us need to make money, including me. However, is there this need for any of us to be aggressive, demanding and unchanging in the way we do things? If someone has a different opinion or point of view, does one have to make it their mission to prove them wrong? Does everyone need to be so angry all of the time? I think anger is at the root of all of our woes.
Escape from worry
Many artists I know escape into their spaces to get a breather from the noise and worries of the outside world. If we look at some of the greatest artists’ studio spaces, you will often see a deep personalization of their working and living spaces. Artists escape into their work, and without the work, there really is no escape from worry.
In Matisse’s studio, which was in the Excelsior Régina Hotel in Nice, you could actually see the objects and the decor that we admire in his work. The contemporary photographers who visited his spaces to document a day in the life captured many of the scenes that we are familiar with through the great master’s work. We also catch glimpses of the many women that surrounded the artists as he works, some doubling as models and assistants.
Besides being filled with his creations, Matisse filled his spaces with his own collections of richly coloured fabrics and carpets. He also had a collection of art by artists whom he admired. His apartments also housed many birds and cats of which it is said that the artist was very fond of.
Create your own space
Having a quiet place to contemplate and create in is essential for the artist. Of course, not everyone can afford a separate space to work in, but it should be very high on any serious artist’s list. Covid-19 has created a need for a great many of us to find a separate space.
Having visited many artists’ studios myself, I find seeing the working spaces very insightful and inspiring. You can almost see and feel the “seriousness” of the artist when you walk around their space. Little “collections” of things give us telltale secrets of how the artist’s mind works.
Henri Matisse at home, Nice, 1943 photo Roger Schall
A creative space speaks
Visiting an artist’s space isn’t the same as visiting an exhibition. An exhibition is the creation of a curator. Such events are staged giving the visitor a sterilized and generic view of how the artist goes about creating their work and offers little if any insight on the creative processes of the artist. Curators are just now beginning to incorporate articles from the artists’ studio, photographs and personal items in their exhibits.
My own working spaces have become filled with items and things that interest me. All of my previous work-spaces have become combined here. I have collected and added things that are meaningful to me and will continue to do so.
So much of my time is spent here I might as well be comfortable right?
Is your working-space spartan and free of anything that would betray that your space is really yours?
I know of many creative types who hide things away in cupboards and boxes. When you enter their spaces they are sterile and speak nothing of the person who creates there.
My advice is to make a space your own!
Todays inspirational quote:
“What I dream of is an art of balance, of purity and serenity devoid of troubling or depressing subject matter – a soothing, calming influence on the mind, rather like a good armchair which provides relaxation from physical fatigue.