The first time I visited Somerville Open Studios, I was living just south of Boston, and some friends and I hopped on the train and rode in. As a latent artist myself (I hadn’t been painting for years), I was intrigued by this concept of visiting artists in their workspace; just roaming through and seeing how they work. I mean, it’s great to see an artist’s work carefully curated and displayed on the clean white walls of a gallery, but getting that glimpse of artists in their studios offers a whole different level of intimacy with (and perhaps even understanding of) their work, and it inspired me. It’s probably what inspired me to move here some years later. At any rate, here I am, preparing to open my studio for what is probably my 6th (7th?) SOS weekend.
Having never been particularly good at business or marketing myself, I’ve always left my studio as is and just keep working during the weekend, happy to have visitors come in and look around and ask questions, reminiscent of my expectations years ago. Other artists go to great lengths to clean and curate and present only their most current work, gallery-style. I’ve been inspired to do this in the past, but the notion dissolves away into the ether as we get closer to SOS weekend. I guess I am an experiential person at heart, and to me, this takes away from the experience of seeing the artist in their daily grind. This year, though, I have planned to level up my professionality.
Yes, definitely. I look around my studio for the work I’ve completed only in the past year, and find that most of it is in the homes of those who commissioned it (and I don’t ask to borrow them). So, I will probably hang 4 or 5 newer paintings along a well-lit clean white wall and stack the older ones away in a corner with a “make me an offer” sale sign. Yes, I will remove all the extraneous items in the studio which detract from the visitor’s appreciative gaze of the work arranged so carefully on the wall, and label each painting as in a gallery, with little placards explaining their stories in a carefully chosen font.
Or, I will just keep my studio as is, vacuum the rug, empty the wastebasket and recycling, and put out a plate of crackers & cheese to welcome those who come to visit artists at work and ask about the process and the stories of each painting; rather than polished up and sterile like a kid on her first day of school. I may not attract gallery representation, but I will have a great time.
Please come visit and see which I went with.
Mad Oyster Studios (studio G4)
2 Bradley St in Somerville
Friday | May 3: 6 – 9pm (featuring a variety of Bantam cider!)
Sat & Sun | May 4 & 5: 12 – 6pm