Skip to main content

My Studios: Part II

Not actually my studio in Reading, England, but
pretty close to the one I talk about
Reading, England

When I returned to England and completed my MA, I realized that I didn’t want to go back to painting in a a converted bedroom, so I obtained a studio in the town where I lived, about 40 miles west of London. It was in another small industrial space, near the River Kennet. Like many buildings in Reading, it was constructed from solid red Victorian brick, and it had windows running the length of each room. I was on the second floor, in a long room about 25 feet long, with whitewashed stone walls and half-moon windows on two sides. 
I rented this space from about October 1994 to July 1995, when I moved to London. I moved in all the canvases and materials that had been shipped back from Spain, and spent the winter and spring continuing with the large, Anselm Kiefer-like impasto semi-abstract landscapes that I had begun during the MA. The space was unheated, but the weather is never that cold in England, so even on the coldest days I could manage a few hours in there by wrapping up warm and painting in fingerless gloves. The weird thing about the place was that across the corridor, a room identical in shape to mine was used as a gym by these big, beastular guys who walked and talked like cockney mobsters in recent films of that ilk. That’s not quite a joke: curious about why they worked out so much in the middle of a weekday, I asked them once what they did for a living, and they only cackled and said: ‘A bit of this, a bit of that. Import and export, that sort of thing.’ I had a couple of joking conversations with them, in which we talked about swapping spaces for a while, so that they could try and paint and I could try and bench press 500 pounds with just one hand.
It was good to have a space outside my home, but I was very much on my own, and I missed the communality of the studio in Barcelona. I regained that to some extent in my next studio, when I moved to London.

 Subscribe to Praeterita in a reader


Popular posts from this blog

On my 300th blog post


It's my 300th blog post. And I seem to remember that in my 200th blog post I said that I would start quoting from John Ruskin's "Praeterita", after which this blog was named. Well, better late then never, so quotation number 2 is below.

First, though, some thoughts on this blog and blogging in general. I started Praeterita at the end of last year after reading a book by an art-marketing guru called Alyson Stansfield that recommended it as a means for artists to publicise their work better. But from the start I thought it would be more interesting to talk in a discursive way about my wider interest in art, and artists, and the history of art. After a desultory beginning where I only posted once a week, my blogging habit has now grown to the point where I am posting sometimes twice a day, and more than 45 times per month (helped enormously by the Blogger feature that lets you save blog posts with a post-dated timestamp, so that you can put posts in the bank to …

My worst open studio

Most open studios are notable for nothing really happening. You sit there waiting for people to come into your studio, eat all your nibbles and guzzle the free drink, and then leave after a cursory glance at your work. Usually, the worst thing that happens is that you get stuck in a boring conversation with a dull person,

But there was one time a few years ago when I got into one of these conversations, and quite quickly the person I was talking to started to make homophobic remarks about another artist in the building. After a few minutes, I decided I'd had enough and asked him to leave. He seemed genuinely surprised that I had any objection to what he was saying, which in retrospect makes me even angrier if he thought he had a sympathetic ear.

He asked me why, and I told him I didn't like people talking that way, and I said: "This conversation ended 30 seconds ago." So he left.

So, nothing dramatic like Jackson Pollock getting drunk in a fancy New York apartment a…

Brancusi in Plastic

Artist Mary Ellen Croteau is showing these columns made from recycled plastic cartons and lids in the window of the Columbia College bookstore on Michigan Avenue. They are a playful homage to Brancusi's "Endless Columns", with a serious environmental message for our times:

Mary Ellen also runs a wonderful experimental art gallery in a window space in west Chicago, called Art on Armitage. I will be exhibiting a mixed media piece there during August 2012.