Before & After a Studio Move

We read about the changes in an artist's work over their careers and sometimes we can trace it back to a change in their environment. 

The change may manifest as a change in canvas size or color palette. Imagine an artist moving from a rural Colorado town to an apartment in New York City, and it’s easy to imagine how their work might change. 

Sometimes the changes are less obvious; they’re nearly submerged below the observable surface, and the effect may not emerge until some time after the cause.

Before: My San Jose Studio

After: A new studio for metal sculpture in Stockton, CA

During the relocation of my studio from San Jose to Stockton, I realized I was experiencing some pretty significant physical issues. Although it took me weeks to acknowledge it, I finally realized I was feeling really tired and achy pretty much all the time. Being an action-oriented person, I successfully distracted myself by focusing on workarounds and taking lots of naps.

I made a few dietary changes and added some supplements, and yes, I dove deep into the rabbit hole that is Google. I also went to my go-to,  fix-all solution and watched lots of Youtube standup comedy. I’m partial to Drybar. The family-oriented venue (no cussing or drinking) is filmed in Provo, Utah. In this venue, comedians eschew gratuitously crude material in favor of insightful observations about human behavior that still makes you laugh out loud.

Anyway, between the supplements and the comedy, I began feeling better in body. Around the time I started feeling better, I noticed my morning routine had changed. I’d developed a compelling interest in the simple pleasures of domestic life. But my creative spirit was still out of sorts many weeks after I’d completed my move.  

Instead of jumping up and heading to work at the studio, I discovered that I really enjoyed taking time to enjoy a sit-down breakfast. Instead of bolting out of bed and jumping headlong into my day,  I was taking time to sit in my little kitchen as slices of sunlight through blinds bathed my skin in strips of warmth. Instead of dumping my coffee into a travel mug (brewed with cinnamon and cayenne pepper in a stovetop espresso pot), I actually began taking time to sit with it, listening to old episodes of  “Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me.”  

I even bought a mattress topper. OMG! did that change my sleeping comfort. I was amazed by how much I was enjoying this homebody, low-impact routine.

Before my move, I was mostly unaware of the cycle of time. The duration of a project measured my days, and my hours were filled with unbridled “doing.” Days often felt like hours and hours like moments. Before the move, I was seldom aware as each hour passed. Now there are the hourly bells from the University of the Pacific that sing each hour’s arrival. 

It’s clear that my personal and work rhythms are changing. I’m curious to know if and how these changes will influence the art I make.