A few weeks ago Mike and I made the move from our cozy brick apartment in South Boston to a bright, expansive live/work art studio in Boston's Fenway neighborhood. Fenway Artist Studios is the country's oldest building built specifically for working artists and was deemed a national historic building a few years back thanks to the active artist community. I was walking on air when we first visited (prompting my now-landlady to remark, "You're surprisingly bubbly for someone from Seattle." Ha!) and was on the edge of my seat waiting to be approved by the board.
And wow… we love it here! Every morning, I feel like I've hit the lottery. The big 12' windows let in consistent north light and the huge studio space allows me to work on many canvases simultaneously. There are two bedrooms upstairs in a mezzanine-style loft, while the studio takes up the majority of the downstairs level with a living room alcove to the side. The building overlooks the commuter railroad tracks and is neighbors to Berkelee College of Music, Fenway Park and lots of funky restaurants, parks and shopping in between.
Here are a few photos from around the studio...
Three weeks of packing and unpacking gave me a bit of time to reflect on the last few years as an artist. Moving out of South Boston was a little bittersweet... it was our first apartment together, cute and charming, and my studio there was a nurturing place. When I quit my job and we moved to Boston three years ago to pursue painting full time, I had a lot of confidence that it was the right choice, but there are always risks and doubts -- a few people even said, out of love, "don't quit your day job!"). Boston is expensive, especially for an emerging artist and a graduate student, and the financial and emotional commitments were steep.
But… here we are! The risk ended up paying off and my dream flourished. I'm really proud of these last three years! I've sold nearly 8,000 pieces of artwork, was interviewed and published in Oprah Magazine, was hired to create original art for Madison Square Garden and Boston's top hotel and had artwork purchased for the set of a major TV show. I've turned down several lucrative licensing deals because I felt putting my work on particular products and projects wasn't "right" for me (and been turned down for projects that were.)
Most of all, my work has matured and evolved in a way that has allowed me to experiment with different subjects and materials, while remaining unmistakably mine -- and still selling! I assume most people reading this blog are artists or creatives so I'm probably preaching to the choir by saying art supplies don't grow on trees and it's necessary to make work that looks good and sells.
Finding my style coincided with navigating the rest of my post-college, mid-twenties life; cultivating habits and relationships that worked, and saying the necessary goodbyes to those that were exhausting or unhealthy. Moving into this new workspace represents all of these successes, and all of the doubt and risk and unknowns being defeated by intuition, encouragement and passion.
These next few years will be an awesome challenge... I am energized just thinking about them! I have a lot of goals. As always, I want my painting style to evolve and represent my aesthetic as an artist and my spirit as a person. Truthfully, I'm not a particularly whimsical, joyful person... but I am curious, passionate, restless, questioning and capricious and I see my best work emerge when I embrace that. I want my work to represent my wanderlust spirit, that restless je ne said quoi need in so many of us. I want to focus on seeing more of my work make its way around Boston. I want to travel much, much more, make bigger and better art and have you come visit me in my studio to see it.
So… here's to Studio 201 and the next three years! Thanks for being a part of it all :)