02/12/2010 by Sarah Ritchie
When I was a young teenager I was fortunate to attend a holiday workshop at the Whitecliffe College of Arts and Design (Auckland, New Zealand). Though the school held (and holds) a prestigous reputation amongst the fine art world, what impressed my young teenage eyes the most was the building where our course was held. At that time, Whitecliffe was located in the old Trinity College building…a grand, gothic-esque structure with echoing cloisters. The atmosphere was so conducive to everything “art” that it inspired the necessary awe and creativity we required.
How much do your surroundings influence the art that you produce? Just recently I visited the historical Nathan Homestead (Manurewa, Auckland, NZ). Previously a grand private home, and now one of Auckland’s most active arts centres. Nathan Homestead boasts a FABULOUS arts studio. The second floor studio overlooks beautiful gardens and has the most amazing natural light flooding into the expansive, modern workspace. I turned a little green with envy. No wonder artists can be found – by the bucketful – in tucked away places…by the seaside, in the bush, in the small rural towns gazing on farmland.
Would you like to see my garage studio? It is all of about 1.5m wide x 0.75m deep. I share my workspace with two dog beds, one cat bed and a car. I have zero natural light, three tungsten bulbs and one fluorescent lamp. You know what? It works just fine! It’s MY little space. Somewhere I can leave in a mess without having to pack up at the end of each session. Canvas #11 stretched my space-resources a bit, due to the canvas size. Anything larger and I would be in a pickle!
One day I might earn some more space. If I can prove (long-term) that the pursuit of art is more than just a whim my reward might turn out to be a WHOLE garage studio, not just a corner of it!