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William Clark Place and Dwelling Final Case Study Creation Space: How Artistic Media Effects Space, and the Effects of Space on Artistic Media As humans, we have come to develop a non-stop, and deep, relation with the space that we inhabit on a daily basis. Our jobs, our homes, and even our cars all carry an important special element that helps us personalize our territory in a special way. Space is an obsession to the human kind. We define spaces as personal, public, introversive, extroversive, and beyond. Along with this obsession comes the human need to augment space to specifically work to the whim of the individual. This particular condition is found in the artists’’ world, and becomes a condition beyond any similar one found in the lives of other professions. By taking a closer look at the spaces that artists inhabit, is it possible to reveal a particular character that invokes a creative spirit, or are spaces of creation similar to other personalized spaces, where privacy, comfort, and Ideas of home play deeply to the individual responsible for such a space? The world of the arts is full of blurry lines and vague boundaries. The term ‘‘artist’’ can be applied to a person with a paintbrush, cello, typewriter, voice, skateboard, and countless millions of other possibilities where a refined sense of skill and creative input are combined with raw human form and emotion to evoke like thoughts to any person participating in the act of the artist. When we look at the countless realms of the term ‘‘art’’, a not so obvious relation is the necessities of space that each of these different forms may require. Where a painter may get along well in a 100 square foot studio with a window, a dancer would fair much better with a larger amount of space. A photographer would enjoy a dark, humid room with the right chemical solvents necessary to develop his film, whereas a draftsman depends on a well light and arid area to work. Now that we see our becoming into the digital age, the special component of the digital artist’’s workspace must have access to a computer, where a painter might do best without the inherent cost of such technology. If one is to accurately study the space in which creations are conceived, it is only proper to be able to capture input from a vast array of artistic disciplines and then we may come across a common form, or template, or even a common phenomenological essence that unites the spaces where we, as humans feel comfortable to expand our creative conscience and work on the artistic media that we invoke. Different realms of art may exist in separate and very alike environments. Is there a common aesthetic or spatial element that invokes the human creative spirit? Is there a way to design for creativity? Is there a common quality shared that could be applied across the many disciplines of art?



THE FINE ARTS When we look at a field typically known as the ‘‘fine arts’’ we find studios attributed to painting, drawing, and other media that are visually engaging. Most of these works are uninteresting to the ears, nose, and tongue, yet our eyes are in the focus of these genres. When the actual art is put aside, the raw studio comes in to view and it is in this area that we encounter inputs through the smell of the air, the feel of the materiality, the sound of the space. When one is trying to invoke their creative mind, a very careful balance is necessary to successfully achieve the art that they envision, and correctly translate their thoughts to the media. There is a real personality to the space that exists in these studios, because unlike dancing studios, kitchens, dark rooms, and band rooms, the painting studio is a space usually meant for a single person. It is this attribute that makes the fine art studios so much fun to explore because, like the fingerprint of its resident, the studio is completely unique from any other. Whether it is in a large complex of studios, or just a room in a residence, the studio takes on multiple little trademarks of the artist until we are provided with a unique space.

(Clark Filio’’s Studio) An interesting trend found within the artistic community is a trend of urban reclamation. So often we are given a closed down warehouse that eventually becomes artistic studios. Clark Filio, a Boston area illustrator provides an example of the transformed warehouse studio. When we look at a studio of his earlier in his career it is actually a room in his house. Although the



work produced is similar, we are given a very different special quality in the studios provided. The earlier studio was an effect of finance, or lack there of. Now with a larger space in a setting more attuned to his personal preference, the quality and quantity of work has increased. (Filio) The studio atmosphere is an important factor due to the effect that space can have on us especially as modifier of our creative mind. When one feels frustrated, claustrophobic, uncomfortable, or other negative emotion, the quality and ease of the work created becomes more untenable. So we see the ways where the artist takes license over the space and makes many minor additions to the space to give the atmosphere wanted. As we see in the picture above, the artist provides a small area rug to his immediate work area. Although the rest seems bare, Clark gives the assurance that he enjoys the ‘‘raw unfinished’’ feeling of the space. The achromatic and aesthetically plain surrounding leaves more time and intention to the work on the easel. Other artists would prefer their studios to be surrounded in color and inspirational aesthetic schemes and connections. With the case of an old design professor of mine, Cathy Salchow, her home studio is a quaint room that matches her personality. Being a strong proponent of Josef Albers, it came to no surprise to us when she showed up to class with a bright yellow brace on her knee after a small medical operation. Her space of creation was a custom match to the creations that the space was responsible for and the same work would most likely not be as realistic in the bleached studio of Clark’’s. (Salchow) The raw paint and composition do not add the only form of creation to a given piece, but the area in which it is displayed is equally as important. The mood of a space does much to impact the art on display within the space. For more modern and loose illustrations, it would be absurd to hang them in a museum setting of yellow stone and a bourgeois clientele. A more meaningful and well suited space is that of a smaller local gallery that serves plenty of alcohol and offers the possibility of a disk jockey creating music with an obvious groove, yet not prominent enough to dance to. Here we capitalize on the gallery space to invoke the senses not quite realized by the painting or drawing. Where the frame does not emit any sound or taste, the artist or curator of the event works with the hors d'oeuvres, drink, and music choice to compliment both the space and the work contained within it. (Meinenger) In Cincinnati’’s gallery district down town we are encountered with a wide array of different galleries of size and type. The main street district works with smaller shop sized galleries where it is common to find the DJ and white wall space where bright color and graphic work pieces are displayed. When we pull the scope over to the Pendleton, we are confronted with the open studio format where a multi story warehouse has been turned into a gallery and studio space that houses many area artists. Most of the work is very traditional working on bases of oil paints and graphite. Here the historic reapportionment architecture plays well with the newly archaic forms of oil still lives. However, the most interesting part of the gallery is the fact that there is little to no gallery once the



viewer is inside. Here the studio of the artist plays both as the place of the creation, and the exhibition space for the creation. One of the most interesting studios I visited was one held by an Indian woman with a child in a stroller. There were cubes of cheese, hummus, and pita. The work she created was a reference to Jackson Pollock in the fact that there was no clearly recognizable feature on the canvases except for the materials used: bright acrylic and gold leaf. Every work was hung equidistant from the other, but there was one exception, an almost negative of the rhythm to this point rather than having a painted canvas on a white wall, there was the appearance of a white void in the midst of paint splatter. As if a painting had just been done there and then removed. Sure enough that was the case, yet the artist still decided to move the piece out of its rhythm and off the wall into the middle of the room. This little break from the pattern spoke much about the introvert mother and her studio. After talking with her about her work for several minutes, I was able to figure out the fact that she did not speak the best English, but her space and work spoke out well and clear enough that I was left with a good idea of her personality. Creative Spaces in Design How does design differ from the creative arts? Design can vacillate on the cusp of being art and even dive deep into the depths of art, yet still remain in the realm of design. Why? Is the method of design so much different from that of art? Can an artist be capable of design? Many questions of this caliber are up to argument and one is destined to receive a whole flurry of different responses on this topic. What truly have become interesting are the similarities between the spaces that artists use to create as well as the differences that are commonly seen in the spaces of designers. When analyzing the idea of an art studio, we encounter smaller spaces meant to house the artist and maybe a guest, where as in the world of design, inter-personal collaboration is key to success. This is why we see less design studios meant for a single person, and more spaces that will involve other designers together to work on a common problem. Design is described as a graphic form of problem solving, and a true test of creative thinking mixed with analytical knowledge. It is the problem solving aspect that creates a more extroversive space that welcomes other designers in to greater spread the discourse through out the entire studio. In this format, the spaces occupied by designers are less personalized due to the greater population density, and more often are property of the company for which the designer works.



(James Zanoni’’s Office) Working in a local office, LPK, James Zanoni works on elements of digital design. Creating logos that we encounter in cyber space we are not given a presentation space nor do we see the space that the designer exists within when working on a project. All that we encounter is what we see on the extents of a computer screen. Even though the design works with artistic influences and media, the viewer of these animate and colorful schemes has no idea about the intentions of the designer, the process involved, and the inherent cost that the particular project runs with. When working on the digital media, we are so often left with a product that technically does not exist, and the conceptual realization and skill that goes into digital design is that much more inherent in the designer. For this reason we find James’’s particular studio with small inspirations and much personal work. The space where these conceptual elements are realized plays as a very important modifier to the creation of such pieces. (Zanoni) Musical Space The need for space extends ever so much to the musician. Where the fine artist is content in a smaller room, the musician must pay keen attention to the resonance and acoustics of a given area as well as containing an interesting and involved aesthetic. If we are to look at the spaces that the musician acts with in order to perform his or her music, we must find a space comfortable to the viewer’’s age, socioeconomic class, health, and preference. Much like the artist in the gallery, there must be much care taken to the special presentation of the space that houses the musical presentation. A symphony is going to play in a theatre with seats and with the tectonic elements arraigned in a way to amplify and resound the noise of the orchestra. Meanwhile a louder modern band will



use amplification methods to play to an open floor where the viewer is free to move around and even dance. The allure may change based on countless thousands of spectator preferences but the special element is not so easy to change. The augmentation of music hall for a hip-hop show would be a painful and potentially dangerous condition. So we see the majority of hip hop shows happen in spaces that are very open with little ornament. We find spaces where we count on the music to draw the full attention of the viewer so they cannot look up to the unfinished ceiling. When dealing with the creation of music, different genres will yield different spaces for creation. A larger band is going to find and augment a space that is large enough to house the members of the group where a single electric musician can work out of their bedroom. Much like the artist’’s studio, that of a musician is common to contain personal effects. However, a trend is also visible where the musician chooses to practice their art. Due to the portability of most musical instruments compared to the materials necessary to make art, we find that the musician can also be very mobile. The musician may define multiple spaces, indoors and out doors to be the space in which they create. A guitar is easily transported to a different space where new inspiration may be very relevant. In this way, a mobile musician can grasp several concepts and influences from different areas and compose the output into a single creation. Mobility may work wonders for some, whereas for others, it may provide for a creative ““vertigo”” of sorts. This is all dependant on the personal preference of the individual artist, much like many other decisions about the special existence of an individual. Brodie Johnson is a cellist that has studied in Cincinnati’’s school of CCM. The work that he creates is usually about taking the paradigm that the cello has become and moving it to an all-new level. Combining his raw talent with modern advances in music we are given a sound that is completely unfamiliar. Voices looped over with cello percussion and bowing. Where space comes into play, is when Brodie decides to play out for others. At home he simply finds a quiet room, or finds another like-minded individual already busy with their own instrument and joins along. There is little thought given to the special surroundings of the impromptu work of Brodie. When he plays out, however, he is usually draped in a canopy of color and sitting low to the ground with the audience surrounding him. The visual component of the performance is one of the most phenomenologically charged experiences I have yet witnessed. Once this is mixed with the beautiful and strange sounds of the music, the mind becomes clear of all conscious thought and instead becomes a sponge taking in all that the entire experience has to offer. The spectators play a role in the creation of the music in this space and even help to create the special aspect of the concert. Surrounding the musician and often humming along in inordinate frequencies, a sort of drone is created by the crowd as he projected color reflects off the visages of those present. (Brodie Johnson)



Hybrid Spaces In exploring the processes behind local art scenes, of those that I have encountered, I am a largest proponent of hybrid spaces. The hybrid space will work off of both musical and visual art to incite multiple senses and provide for a comfortable sensor overload where one is blissfully lost in seas of colors while having every sense acted upon. Often times we are encountered with the term reclamation again. If we take into example Skully’’s in Columbus, Ohio, we find a large bar with a decent sized stage that brings all ranges of acts through town. Yet we enter one of Columbus’’s bands that specialized in hybrid shows into the mix and we find a bar draped in vibrant color and an even more pleasing auditory sensation. Shin Tower Music is fronted by Tristan Suefert, a Columbus area musician and painter. In the last few months he has been working on combining a visually and sonically charged experience to give to unexpecting crowds. Working with algorithmic sequences, Tristan is able to project a strong visual component over the musicians on stage to compliment the already active and charged music. When the same processes become applied to different spaces, we notice that the spaces are temporarily changed. In a Cincinnati basement, Shin Tower was able to change the special inflections and for a moment the space was as large as a concert hall while still keeping the close, personal, and comfortable feeling of a small communal space. A similar occurrence happened at the Columbus Comfest musical festival. This time in the opposite direction. When given an open-air stage, the band was encountered with several new obstacles; the first being the open space was entirely too big, the second being the fact that the daylight interfered with the projections. Here the band had to count on good showmanship and an impromptu white tarp to bring the passing crowds in. Eventually the group was rewarded with success when a local paper happened on the small, yet active group of individuals already on scene. (Suefert)

(Shin Tower Music, Pictures by Mumma)



(Bunk Spot Warehouse) In Cincinnati there is, or was a venue that housed some of the more interesting hybrid acts to stumble into town. The Bunk Spot was an experiment started by a local Cincinnati organization, Bunk News. The idea was to fight urbanities decline by placing an interesting, and becoming venue in the heart of Over the Rhine, A neighborhood ranked 1sr most dangerous place to be by Bunk News thought that the best way to fight this trend and distinction was to bring a more trendy and intellectual crowd down to the area of plight and try to involve the community better. The space was an old abandoned warehouse on John Street. The space was zoned as a warehouse, which ultimately led to the downfall of the bunk spot. The warehouse, however, was low rent and low maintenance, so naturally it became s space for instillation art, music, fine arts, sculpture, and about any other creative common, even including skateboarding. The organizers of the space would augment the space to create new and interesting views if an interior environment as shown above with the ‘‘Bunk News Campout’’ where the columns were dressed with cardboard as trees, televisions were piled into a stack and turned to display fire. Benches and tents were provided as various musical acts, some scheduled, others impromptu exploded all around the space. Of the acts to inhabit the space, it was not surprise to fine Honest Abe, a collective including the afore mentioned Brodie Johnson, playing there. With various projections, hung artworks, and interactive kinetic sculpture, the space was more of an experiment in experience rather then a venue. In late 2009 the Cincinnati fire marshal ordered the space to close down due to the zoning of the space and the difference it had to the actual program. The closure of the Bunk Spot dealt a blow to the spontaneous creative community, yet the community was able to adapt. When Bunk News moved the space to the Mockbee, an abandoned brewery a block away from the original



John Street location. The new location offers several new spatial elements not encountered in the previous location. Being an old brewery, the Mockbee is made up of several concrete vaults spread over three levels. The most important distinction is the fact that the Mockbee has been a venue for a while and has since then been retrofitted to serve that purpose. Obtaining the proper zoning, and lacking a clientele, the Mockbee matched Bunk News well enough to combine forces to host new shows and performance art. Although not as homey as the previous location, there are different spatial experiments that can be played with the vaulting of the interiors. Of the several times I have been through the space there is always a separation in the theme of the spaces with heavy concrete walls, the noise is completely dampened from space to space allowing each space to have its own unique quality.

(Evolve Projects) Of the acts that have been through the space, a very unique experience was to be had when a group called ‘‘Evolve Projects’’ performed at the John Street location. Evolve Projects links hip-hop with live theatre with visual art and a strong political component. Several props were placed around the space and the audience that eventually came into play. One of which, a cardboard tower appeared to blast fabric out of the top until the spectators found out that the same fabrics were the clothes the performer contained within. Interestingly enough, the juxtaposition of having an animated nude form running around a vastly open and public space, completely wrecked previous conceptions of the happenings of such spaces. The simple act of performing his set in the nude crushed the previous conceptions that the audience in attendance had of performance space. (Projects) Conclusion The spaces of artists’’ house the very emotion that drives an individual to create. When we look at the commons of all artists we encounter many different



ideas and ways of expressing ones self. The space that an artist procures is often times sacred to the individual, and other times, just another space to get away to. Over wide varieties of the arts, reclamation of used and abandoned space seems to be a trend. Is the reasoning for re-purposing space based solely on cost, or is there a nostalgic austerity that surrounds old spaces that are used in a new manner that all artists enjoy? Is it out of a warped trendy belief in sustainable environments or is it a method of combating the negative connotations given living in an urban environment? As far as my findings have lead me, it is solely a personal decision. I have expected the answer to be as such for the majority of the time I spent talking to random interesting people about their spatial utopiate. The augmentation of a studio space is a personal decision. Where the work is showcased and how the work is showcased all plays along the same strand of decisions. The truth is that a studio is an extension of ones self, much like that of a home or car. Decisions are made based on ones’’ character and their wants. A vibrant person will cater their studio with eye candy and inspiration where a modernist will enjoy the simplicity of the white walls meeting the ceiling in a simple, clean connection that is left void of any busy aesthetic. The personal decision not only speaks to the creators about themselves, but also speaks to the visitor when language or disability serves as an inhibitor. For those few moments spent in the Indian woman’’s studio, I was able to break all my stereotypical judgments against her based solely on her creations and methods if sampling such work. Like the art that the individual creates within a space, the actual space and the changes that we perceive is nothing more than a method of communication so primitive, that now it is barely recognizable by our modern culture, yet we continue to read it. It is the same reason why one buys a certain home in a certain place. The space that we occupy is in continual conversation with others and us. By giving a good listen to a spatial conversation of an artist, we are provided with some previously unheard insight to his or her individual creation.



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Creation Spaces  

A case study for the Winter 2010 Place and Dwelling class that focused on philosophical aspects of space.