I’ve always made physical space for my art.

It started in high school when I set up a drafting table and easel in my bedroom after we moved to Long Island.

Hi my name is Carrie and here on Artist Strong I help artists build their skill and develop their unique artist voice. To date, thousands of people have joined our community to learn and grow together. Thank you for being part of it! Today let’s talk about making space for our art.

In college, I made art anywhere I had space including ON my roommates! (My roommate Robin let me create a full body case of her for a project – thanks Robin!)

As a senior in university we were given studio spaces to develop our projects. And when I got my first job and moved to Cape Cod my studio was in the living and kitchen of my 1 bedroom apartment. The smell of linseed oil paired really well with my dinner.

When I moved to Dubai in 2007, three of my 7 pieces of luggage were filled with art supplies and books. I didn’t know what would be available there. (At the time, resources were limited. Now you can get everything there!)

I even chose the job over a position outside of Boston because I knew I’d have more time to make my art.

I haven’t always done a great job of utilizing the space but having it in my life has been huge. It’s been a visual reminder and commitment that art is part of my life and gets to take up literal space.

What would change in your life if your decisions included your life as an artist? What if the fact you make time and space in your life for your art was given weight in the larger decisions of your life?

I got off a call with an amazing human in this community who has made space in her home for her art and gives it time, but still struggles to give it space in her mind.

Having a studio space is only the first step of many in our commitment to our art. We need to cultivate and make space for the studio in our mind. It already takes up space in our hearts but getting that brain on board can be a struggle. We have so much programming from childhood, from cultural norms, and more… For me it’s never gone away; I’ve come to understand it’s part of my creative process.

I have two bodies of work I’m exploring right now that are quite different from one another. One is a portrait series of women and the other investigates my relationship to motherhood. And while I’m excited by them I’ve also had a boatload of rejections since moving to Texas. The quantity and consistency of my rejections have felt like the opposite of a welcome party.
Despite knowing my work is important to me and that I will eventually find a good match in terms of venue for the work, I’m sure this is playing into my confidence and looks like me showing up less for my art.

I’m fortunate I’ve done enough work to know my work is still important. Ten years ago I may have given up. But deep down I know even if I never showed or sold another artwork I will still make art.

That doesn’t change the fact that last week I was looking at my studio table, all set up ready for me to draw, with no distractions (cough cough 3 year olds) and I had to drag my derriere in there to get started.

Recently, out of the blue, I was hired for two commissions. I said yes because I knew those deadlines forced me back into the studio. I was reminded that in fact this thing called art is quite valuable to me and I’ve been able to maintain my momentum since completing those works. It’s been easier to convince myself to show up for my art.

Getting started always seems the hardest part.

Today isn’t one of my prettier posts where I have top three tips for you to walk away with, I hope it reflects the sometimes messy nature of creativity and has us thinking about both the physical and mental studios we need to make our art.

How do our choices align with our creative interests? Where could they align more with our art?

May we all cultivate the studio spaces we need to thrive.

If today’s conversation resonates I’d love you to comment below and share your thoughts. Then, pop on over to my calendar and sign up for a time to chat with me this week. I’m doing research to better understand the struggles we face as creatives and am looking to build something that really helps us overcome those challenges.

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