The Artist's Studio: Place or Process? / by Jennifer

Jennifer Davey  

Jennifer Davey  

Due to my recent move out of my studio at the museum, my quest for a new studio space, and my upcoming participation in the Fort Collins Studio Tour with Laura Brent and Valhall Arts, I have begun to consider this basic question:

What is the meaning of the artist's studio?

A visit to etymoline.com provides the root meaning of the word in question.

Studio: A work room of a sculptor or painter.  First used in 1819.

This definition stems from the Italian word studio or a room for study.

Study comes from the Latin roots studium: meaning study, application, or eagerness.

It also means

the application of the mind to the acquisition of knowledge.

including being zealous in applying oneself in this acquisition of knowledge.

This definition resonates with me.  It matches my desire to delve into the art and craft of painting.  Regardless of where my studio has been or will be located in space and time, I am always on the quest for understanding and knowledge gained through the process and investigation of making art.  At the root is the quest.  A quest to uncover, to illuminate, and to understand.  The studio space is merely a container for this very active process.

As I considered this definition over-lapping onto the spaces that have been my studio laboratories, I was surprised to find this old drawing of my original "studio" in the living room of our apartment during art school.

My first 'studio' during art school, circa 1997
My first 'studio' during art school, circa 1997

It looks surpisingly similar to my current studio living room space.  I love that in  this discovery, I know both spaces allow creative investigation.  I also feel as inspired now as I was then to learn to see, understand and relate to the world in an increasingly focused and deep way.  However, there is one distinct difference between when I started art school and now.  In 1997 I was interested in capturing what I saw in order to put it into a drawing or painting.  Now, I am interested in using  the process of art making to change how I see and relate to the world.  This difference is critical when looking at what an art studio means.  It seems the object of "the artist's studio" is often confused for the activity of artistic investigation, the heart of being an artist.  Studio is a process, a study, a practice, and a state of mind.

I will be continuing this investigation of what it means to have a studio and a studio practice.

I hope to see you at my guest studio space at 916 Woodford in Old Town for The Fort Collins Studio Tour on June 22nd and 23rd from 10am -5pm.

Current "living room" studio in our 9th floor apartment
Current "living room" studio in our 9th floor apartment