We’ve all heard people say that a clean space makes a clear mind. But what sort of space helps nurture creativity? It’s a question that many have attempted to answer in the past, hoping to unlock the secrets of society’s most famous artists. Quite simply, there is no one answer to this question. Creative spaces are intensely linked to those who occupy them.
Where an artist creates their work is an incredibly personal place. They might spend most of their lives just trying to culminate an environment that stimulates their creativity to its maximum level. It’s also no secret that artists often become so engrossed in their projects that these ‘work’ spaces spill over into their personal lives. The boundaries between an artist’s creative space and home are therefore not always entirely clear.
Some might even go as far to say that an artist’s studio is like an extension of their work. Personally, I believe this to be true. Take, for example, Jackson Pollock’s studio. The studio itself was relatively plain – there was a wooden floor, one big window to let light in and lots of trolleys scattered around holding paint. However, what made his studio unique to his art was the layers of paint that slowly built up on the floor. Pollock famously loved to work on the floor so that he could drip paint on the canvas. His slightly chaotic and sporadic movements with the paint resulted in the surrounding wooden floor panels also being heavily decorated. Pollock’s studio was thus completely unique to his own artistic process.
Studios over time have expanded enormously. Nowadays, it is common for world famous artists to employ dozens of workers to help them bring their ideas to life. In regards to studio spaces, this means bigger working areas and more ‘professional’ finishes. Perhaps reflecting the consumerist culture of today, artists such as Jeff Koons work in what Artspace called a warehouse that resembles more of an ‘apple plant’ than an artist’s studio. Koons’ work is strongly tied to popular culture, so perhaps we shouldn’t expect his studio to look like anything other than a technological empire.
Of course, most artists do not have the luxury of working in spaces that are as grand as Koons’. Especially in large cities such as London, space for an artist can be like gold. Small spaces aren’t necessarily a bad thing though, some creatives thrive off being closely surrounded by their work and inspirations. Francis Bacon felt most creative in his cramped, messy studio. Many would say that the mess in his studio would prevent them from feeling relaxed, but what works for one person does not necessarily work for another.
Artist studios are complex. In my opinion, they are undoubtedly linked to the way that artists create. Whether it is a subconscious effort or not, the surroundings of artists bleed into their work. Often, this can also occur in the opposite manner – the art slowly takes over the space it is housed in. Either way, the right creative space for an artist can change their artistic direction forever.