If you’ve got a passion for art, then having your own art studio can be a real game-changer. Art studios are little corners of creativity that allow you to indulge in your passion, away from distractions in the rest of your home. With that said, few houses have a dedicated space for artwork, even if it’s the owner’s passion. Art studios don’t usually feature in the floorplan of most homes, with bedrooms and bathrooms taking priority. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t create one yourself, even if you are a little pressed for space.
When you think about it, creating great art is a form of work. But unlike most work that professionals do, art is lively, colourful and full of passion. People have dedicated spaces in their home for regular work, but when it comes to art, that idea seems to go out the window. Artists often just make do wherever they happen to have space.
Is this ideal?
Probably not. Writers, programmers, and data specialists all have rooms set aside which allow them to ply their trade without distraction. Artists need something similar so that they can lose themselves in their imagination, and come up with new ideas every day. But artists also need something different: something that gets their creativity flowing. Their needs are unique.
In this article, we’re going to look at some hacks for setting up the perfect art studio. You’ll learn what you need to take into consideration when creating your ideal workspace, as well as how to make it your own.
Get Inspiration From Others
Research suggests that when people are surrounded by the work of others, they are more creative. Top companies, especially tech companies like Google and Amazon, know that when you expose people to bright colours and exciting pictures, sparks fly. This is why it’s so important when setting up an art studio, to make sure that other people’s work surrounds you.
Today, there are plenty of places on the internet that can inspire you for free. If you’re an interior designer, you could print off images from Houzz, a popular website dedicated to exceptional home-photography. Alternatively, if you’re a product designer, then sites like Pinterest, Flickr and Instagram provide excellent examples of both artwork and photography to adorn your walls. Choose images that inspire you and relate to your chosen field. You never know how they might influence your unconscious mind and enable you to produce better work.
Be Mindful Of Organisation
Art studios are by nature messy places. Paint, glue, glitter, and piles of paper all conspire to create chaos. That’s why, before you set up your art studio, you should think carefully about how to keep it clean and organised.
First off, make sure that you have cleaning materials to hand. Old rags are great for clearing up spilt paint and clay. You might also want cleaning solutions like turpentine, to stop paint from staining your desk or floor. Have a shelf dedicated to brushes, sponges, paint remover, and protective canvas. Be sure to protect your walls and floor, either with an artist’s canvas or if you can’t find one; an old bed sheet will do. Once you’ve got everything you need to hand and have protected your room, then you should find cleaning up afterwards much more manageable.
Make Sure Your Studio Is Well Ventilated
It’s against the law in many countries to have an unventilated bathroom. Steam needs to be able to escape to reduce humidity. But unventilated bathrooms are not a health hazard. Unventilated art studios, on the other hand, can be, especially if you’re using oil-based paints.
When choosing a location for an art studio, make sure that air can circulate, beyond opening a window. Daily exposure to paint fumes can be harmful, so it’s important to make sure that you use somewhere with a steady supply of fresh air. The easiest solution is to install box fans into existing windows, but if this isn’t possible (because of double glazing), then you may need to have a builder install a brick vent. Either way, your health is paramount: you won’t be able to create great art if you feel sick.
Make Space For A Large Work Surface
A large, flat surface is the key to an exceptional art studio. It will allow you to create large pieces of work, without having to do anything complicated (like create them in stages). Ideally, you’d like a table or bench greater than six foot by five foot with enough room for the work itself, paint, materials, brushes and water.
Look for tables which provide a perfectly flat surface at low cost. Don’t bother going with expensive materials, since you’re unlikely to see them once you’ve put your canvas down. Choose something functional and place it in the middle of the space so that you can attack your work from all angles.
Make Sure You’ve Got A Sink Nearby
As we discussed above, art can be messy. Therefore, you need a nearby supply of running water for filling up buckets and washing brushes. The last thing you want is to have to leave your studio to get water from elsewhere. It wastes your time if nothing else. Find a spot in your home with a nearby sink, or ask a plumber how much it would cost to install one.
Set Up Your Technology
Every art studio needs some technology, especially if it’s a part of your business. You’ll need not only a laptop but also a high-quality printer and a stockpile of Epson ink cartridges. Clients may ask you for high-quality prints.
Printers are also useful for printing out images you find online and sticking them on the wall for inspiration. Choose photos wisely and always print in colour. You’ll be surprised by how much of a difference they can make.
Ensure That You’ve Got Plenty Of Light
Many people choose to locate their art studios in outbuildings, away from their main home. While this might be a great way to separate work and home life, it can generate a host of new problems, especially with lighting.
Many outbuildings, for instance, were built for storing food or animals. As a result, the designers rarely considered the quality of lighting in their plans. Artists, however, need great lighting to do colour-accurate work. Without it, things can appear a little “off.”
Professionals suggest trying, wherever possible, to use natural light. Natural light is nearly perfectly white and displays colours in the way they are meant to be seen by the human eye. We evolved with natural light, and so it plays a vital role in creating the best artwork.
You might think that the obvious solution is to install an array of incandescent or halogen bulbs to provide plenty of light in your dull interior. But this doesn’t solve the problem: these lighting technologies cannot mimic natural light, and will distort colours. The good news is that there are some colour-corrected fluorescent lights on the market which can reproduce natural light to a high degree of accuracy. They are expensive, but they work.
On some rare occasions, you might want to manipulate the style of lighting in your art studio. Thanks to the smart home movement, coloured “mood” lighting options are becoming cheaper and more widely available. Could you take advantage of this trend?
Focus On Storage
Take a look at most art studios, and you’ll notice something: they’re a mess. While many creative geniuses like to work in the midst of chaos, it’s not for everybody. Sometimes art studios are messy because there just isn’t the space for everything.
Before you even begin constructing your studio, have a plan for where you want to store your materials. At the start, you’ll want quite a lot of empty space in anticipation of work that you will produce. Make sure that you’ve got room on the walls and storage areas for the artwork you don’t want to put on show.
Also, start collecting plastic containers. They’re great for storing everything, from brushes to moulds. Use the space under your work surface too to store larger items like step ladders, vacuums, canvas sheets, and extra lighting. Finally, go hunting around your home and charity shops for old bookcases and shelving units for storing paint, clay and stationery.
Make Your Art Studio About You
You don’t want your art studio to be generic, especially if you’re going to make your mark on the art scene. An art studio should be an intimate space which reflects your personality and character. By all means, look for inspiration on the internet, but creating an art studio is an artistic endeavour in itself. Your studio can and should be entirely unique to you.
Choosing the right location for an art studio can be difficult. Basements are great for getting away from the world and doing your work in peace, but they can lack sufficient lighting. Sheds are another favourite among art-lovers, but they can be cold in winter, discouraging work. Attics can be useful for both light and noise.