While we’re on our renovation hiatus, we thought we’d come up with a few “FAQ” and tips pieces to give you a bit of a sense of how our artists and instructors in residence work, and how they’ve become productive working artists. Today, we’ve had Melissa, one of our interns, put together some thoughts from our current artistic faculty on their home studio setups. Keep in mind that all of our staff work in different media, from paint to playwriting, so these are more general rules that can be used for any practice!
Separate relaxation space from productive space:
One of the best pieces of advice any of our artists shared is to keep separate spaces for different mental states. You should have a sleeping, relaxing, and “absorbing” area, and then a separate space which you save for being productive. That helps you get in a productive mode when you sit at your desk, since you’re creating habits. It also is supposed to help you switch off the “work” part of your brain at the end of the day, when you’re in the sleeping/relaxing areas. Most of our artists keep a dedicated room for art “head space”, but even if you’re in a smaller space, they say you can make it work as long as you keep your space divided psychologically and physically.
Get a good chair
If you’re a writer or someone who draws at a sketchpad, you should invest in a good chair that keeps you productive all day. Lots of science has been showing that sitting kills us in a lot of ways, but our artists all agreed that it’s most deadly to creativity.
Even if you’re a painter, you’re going to have to sit down sometimes, so you should find a chair that’s good for taking a break. Then again, a lot of the artists here stressed that you shouldn’t get something like an armchair. Rav, one of our curators, recommends using an ergonomic office chair (he has a Herman Miller, which he bought on the recommendation of this website. He swears by it, but they have some other recommendations that are probably more “artist friendly” on the money front. The key is to either get a good ergonomic chair that keeps your spine in good alignment for example, or a chair that prevents terrible back pain like the ones on http://officeworthylist.com/best-chair-back-pain, or to get an active one that keeps your blood flowing (but most of our staff agreed they’re not super good for art, since they wobble in a way that’s bad for drawing.
All our artists agreed that the biggest struggle in making a home studio practice happen well is managing distractions. They had different ways to tune out electronics, family, or other interference, but most suggested finding a “zone” to put all your distracting things, especially smart phones. You don’t necessarily have to turn everything off, especially if you’re working in photoshop or editing software on a computer, but you should at least turn off desktop notifications during your work time. Keep everything in a nook so you’re not constantly checking apps or texting.
Make your studio a healthy space:
Our artists have suggested something we take very seriously at the studio, which is making a healthy, happy space to work in. You can do the same at home. Maximize your natural light by making full use of windows and try bringing in some plants, which has been proven to help mood and general sense of well-being, especially in office and studio spaces. Reducing clutter is also generally shown to reduce anxiety or feelings of restlessness, although some other artists work best in clutter. The idea is to create the healthiest version of your idea space.
Well, that’s all for now. I hope this has been helpful, and inspired to you improve your home studio! Don’t forget to visit Office Worthy List for the most comfortable office chair online and many more!
Hope to see you soon at the Gallery!