Many years ago, having first been introduced to several artists who had their own studio, I realised that they are a special breed of person.
Most artist studios are not particularly luxurious. They are often in old warehouses or old buildings that have been repurposed on a shoestring budget, which helps keep rents down. This means that most artists find ways of maintaining their environment as best they can; leaky ceilings are patched with bubble wrap, gaps and draughts are stopped up with whatever they have lying around.
Years later, with my own art practice, I have learned the ways of adapting and making do within a budget. I have a nice studio that I have to travel to get to, and a place where I live in order to do the day job.
This means that my home has a small studio crammed into a corner of the bedroom, because I couldn’t work and not work.
I have a studio I can live in – just about – and a rented flat I can make art in – just about.
With the arrival of the coronavirus, I see a future where everyone has to adapt their living environment to be a live-work space. Often while sharing with other people who also work.
I believe that the things I have learned to do to enable an art practice at home will become the reality for many people in future.
Renting or housing
How can I find a flat that will have enough bedrooms and enough working space. Can I fit a studio in the corner of a bedroom? or can I turn the kitchen from living space to working space and back again? And what effect will this have on the rest of my household?
What furniture will I need to enable a live-work space? Does what I need even exist?
Even IKEA doesn’t always have ready-made options. I’ve spent plenty of time sawing and connecting different bits of IKEA “solutions” to make storage or studio space that I need.
Where am I spending most of my time?, how much bandwidth do I need for video chat? How can I have it wherever I end up going?
I’ve given up on broadband at home. It’s usually crap (unless you pay a lot), it breaks constantly and you can’t rely on engineers to turn up when they say they will (I’m looking at you, Talktalk) and with multiple studio spaces, an office, a commute and an unknown future around all of these, where do you need it to be?
I’ve finally gone with unlimited data on a cellphone. This means I can tether wherever I am in my space or in the country. I’m housebound for now, but who knows where I’ll end up having to be or if wifi will even be a thing?
From the ashes
It’s clear that the future is uncertain but definitely different to what I’ve known up until now. Once coronavirus is gone there will something else, or the threat of something else and the world will have to adapt to a new reality, with different versions of “daily life”.
I truly believe that from under the rubble and out of the ashes, those who have already adapted their lives to their own way of living will be the ones who cope first, and best with the changes to come.
Come the revolution, a drawing
This drawing is about everything I’ve written above. It’s about sharing a space but being apart; finding room to do what you want to do and planning your environment to enable that. It’s also about different types of needs and how they are fulfilled alone and together in mutual support. It’s also about chickens, of course.