A Studio Built for Two...or More

5 Jan 2014

Sharing studio space allows artists to come together for collaborations, or work side by side on personal projects.
Sharing studio space allows artists to come together for
collaborations, or work side by side on personal projects.
I’ve never shared a studio or work space, except for when I’ve been in the classroom. Which is weird because I’m social and enjoy engaging with others. I suppose I assumed it would be disruptive and not conducive to my painting process. But I’ve had a change of heart of late. Talking to friends who share space has made me realize there is a lot to be gained by not going it alone.

If you have a studio away from home, the financials are essentially cut in half if you team up with a likeminded artist or friend. There’s also the possibility, if you are both oil painters or watercolorists, of pooling your materials and tools. Plus, when it comes time to have a gallery opening of sorts in such a studio, you get double the coverage, which is a great way to widen the circle of people who might be interested in collecting your work.

But there are benefits that can’t be so easily codified. Brainstorming, for example. I love bouncing ideas off other people and verbally working out challenges with a trusted friend or relative. The same kind of rapport can be established between artists in the studio together, working through new techniques or an unusual process in oil painting for example. A cohabitated studio is also a great way for artists who are husband and wife or life partners to work together but on their own. Then there are the chances for unforeseen artistic collaborations that can really take your work in new, exciting directions.

Rethinking any preconceived notions about how you work and how you want to work can mean the difference between pushing in a new direction that enlivens your creativity for years and losing your inspiration and creating predictable art. A subscription to The Artist's Magazine is a great resource that can help make sure the latter never happens. Fellow artists and outstanding practitioners share how they pursue their processes and make the most of their chosen medium. You’ll get practical and inspiring solutions alike concerning how to remove obstacles that might stand between you and your art process. Enjoy!


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Comments

smallisgreat wrote
on 6 Jan 2014 8:02 AM

Sharing materials sounds awfully altruistic but there would have to be strict controls on cost....and what happens when you want the raw sienna and someone else has just used up the last bit? Unfortunately some folk can be greedy and "pooled resources" could only ever work in groups where there's total trust.....or with a husband/wife  or very long-term friendship.

I find groups distracting; too much chatter. I am happiest when working alone, where I can talk to myself and work through problems without fear of ridicule. Guess some of us are just happy being lone wolves.

on 6 Jan 2014 9:24 AM

This post gives only the positives which I agree are great, but I have been in a shared studio situation that ended badly because I trusted the person would keep his end of the bargain with only a hand shake and his word. I lost my beautiful prime location studio because of his bad behavior - like not paying his share of the rent and using my supplies without asking or offering to replenish and worse things I can't repeat here.  I encourage any artist who wants to share space to have everything written down and signed. Especially if it is a paid space with a lease involved. Especially if you are friends, lovers, etc. Establish the rules of the road to address all contingencies.

GailBatt wrote
on 6 Jan 2014 9:28 AM

I have been sharing a studio for several years with various artist friends. We have our own materials and designated wall space but the actual working area is communal. There are benefits from having a shared studio. Of course there is the companionship of other artists but best of all you can problem solve and learn from each other. We even have an open studio day when other artists can come in for the day to work and commune with us. It all works out quite nicely.