Odds and Ends – studio tours



Aug 17, 2015 – What I really enjoy is studio tours, particularly if the work is something you really like.

Every studio is unique. Most are small, particularly in the city.

The ones that I find most interesting are those in the country side, where the artist have space to work properly. These artists tend to have been around for a decade or two and have found some way to survive with their art.
Some are children book illustrators, others are potters, and a few are painters.

There is a print maker near Ottawa, who has this fantastic space. It is a farm made up of several small buildings that have been connected. The main building (located next to the farm house) is his studio and it holds two 19th century presses. There also enough room for two work tables and a nice sitting area. Attached to this space is small building that once stored wood, but now contends a mini gallery for visitors.

Every fall, hundreds of visitors flow through his space and buy his prints.

He has been a successful print makers for three decades. Rural life keeps the costs low and he can afford to travel to different countries to get the raw sketches for future projects. He has also founded two artist’s collective stores that feature local artists. As a founder, he is able to reserve an area of each store to display his work. As a result, local tourism provides another source of healthy income stream.

The first studio I ever visited was a painter from France who purchased a century old farm in Flamborough. The place was called “Long Lane Farm.” In the huge barn, he would display his oil paintings each weekend. In the stone farm house, his family would sale bake goods and coffee or tea in the kitchen and people would sit down on the front porch.

On Saturdays or Sundays, my parents would drive out to the farm for something to do. I would wander the fields and then explore the barn filled with his art.

He did very well with his art that featured barns and rural landscapes. After a few years, he went back to France.

Another example of a successful artist is the painter, Sylvia Simpson. She combines store with studio in one location. I often drop by her Westdale store/studio to see her latest works.

One studio I wish I could visit is Edward Burtynsky’s. He created a business producing high quality photographic prints that also advanced his art. This is how he survived the lean years. I still wished I had purchased the Rock of Ages #4 print for $5,000 at the Nicholas Metivier Gallery back in 2005. He had just had his first New York City showing and prices had not yet sky-rocketed.

So, where am I going with this posting? That there are artists out there who can make a living with their art, but they have to be creative. Studio tours give you a chance to see how some artists are making it, year in, year out.

About Chris Erskine

Visual Artist and independent film-maker. Try to post summaries of my artistic activities once per month. View all posts by Chris Erskine

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