Today, instead of sharing a Wednesday Indie Artist Fixx interview, I will be sharing a A Peek Inside: indie home tour. Amy Rice throws open the doors of her brand new studio, which is her home away from home, to share her work, her creative process as well as her lovely new creative space.
I’m still working on getting some Wednesday Indie Artist Fixx interviews scheduled. Keep checking back on Wednesdays for the series….
1. Can you tell us about your studio? Is it part of your home or a separate structure? What’s the layout like? Is it in a new building or old?
My Studio is on the top floor of the California Building in Northeast Minneapolis, in the artist district. The California Building is a former grain mill turned studio building and has been a haven for artists for over 20 years. Some things I love about my studio are the 20+ foot ceilings, humongous windows with a view of the Mississippi river, a fantastic freight elevator and easy loading dock that makes those large found objects I love to paint on not be such a hassle, AND there are over 20 other artists who are in the building so there is always something creative going on. My studio is about a mile from my house, so I can always ride my bike or walk.
Here is cool thing about my view: I have a bird’s eye view (literally!) of the construction of the Lowry Avenue Bridge over the Mississippi River which will be a significant architectural Minneapolis landmark when it is completed in 2012.
2. I know your studio is brand-new and that you also just left your day job (yay for you!). Are you bursting with creativity with these new changes?
Oh my gosh, yes! It’s still a bit unsettling. I am trying to find a routine that will balance the creative part of being a full time artist with practical, business end of things. I am going to let myself delight in uninterrupted days of studio time in-a-row though for awhile.
3. What would you say more accurately describes your approach? “Everything has its place” or “a little clutter breeds creativity”?
I like everything to have its place in theory, but that never really lasts. Some of my newest work , when I write out the description, it sounds more like an ingredient list then mediums used: antique love letters, antique maps, paper lace, sushi grass…I have to go through every box of letters, every stack of maps, every single time to find just the right one. It gets untidy. Sometimes as I leave the studio for the evening I will look over the absolute disarray and just laugh—I can really make a serious mess! When I am in the heat of a new piece I just don’t care about the chaos and I love that I can shut the door on it for the night and go home to my (maybe) clean house.
4. What’s necessary for you in the studio? Feel to share different tools, supplies, storage solutions and/or aspects of the studio.
In spite of what I said about being messy, I do like my studio to be pretty and comfortable. My boyfriend and his little brother built me a “stage” for my studio to help with clutter. It was designed so that 5 gallon totes easily slide underneath. Plus, I am kinda short and the windows are pretty far from the floor, this way when I am at my work station on the stage, I can look out the windows.
I find I need to have either music or NPR. I like to know I have snacks and beverages I like so I can stay as long as I want. This is kinda funny: I feel really far away in my studio. The freight elevator is busy so I don’t want to call it if it is just me and my purse and 6 flights of 20 plus tall floors is a haul, so once I am there, I settle in.
5. What isn’t at your studio? Anything that will distract you from your work?
I didn’t have internet at my studio until recently. It’s a distraction. I have made it so my laptop station is at a standing level and not a place to get comfy, it still might have to leave.
6. Is your studio open to clients or is it just a place for you to work?
The California Building hosts an open studio event on the Second Saturday of every month that is open to the public and I participate in most of those. I also make appointments with people who are interested in purchasing my work. I look forward to having some addition open studio events in my studio this summer including inviting some guest artists to show their work in my space.
7. Who is your furry helper?
Ella! Ella is my sweet 15 year old lab-beagle mix dog. I have had her since she was a tiny puppy and just love her so much. I have been making a lot of art about Ella lately as we come to the close of a fantastic life adventure. She, unfortunately, isn’t the biggest fan of the new studio. She can’t see out any windows for one, and she knows there are other people on our floor who may possibly have treats and I won’t let her go see. We are working on making it more comfortable for her—her studio bone and pillow collection are growing.
8. Anything that you are working on that you would like to share?
I am currently working on a series of paintings inspired by a 1940’s 4H scrapbook—so kids in cute handmade outfits at the county fair showing their farm animals. I grew up on a farm and did the whole 4H thing so it is nostalgic and fun for me. I will show this body of work at Art Star Gallery in Philadelphia this fall. The other thing I am excited about is incorporating my new antique sign press into my methods and antique maps. I have always had a thing about direction and my personal lack of a sense of one (not artistically—just getting around). Antique maps are often made out of such nice paper and in colors that compliment my palette. I will be showing this work in September at View Art Gallery in Victoria, BC.
More images of Amy’s studio after the jump…