In today’s interview we will take another peek at art studio organization with Case Jernigan. This week we dive into organizing specifics and Case shares more about his process of art making and how he tunes into his mood and energy levels to determine what he will work on. Switching gears and giving yourself permission to do what you know you will be most productive is a skill that we all must keep honing and refining. These photos were taken at my visit to his studio in March and are not styled. These shots are typical of what his working studio looks like on an average day.
Case Jernigan’s Organized Studio Part II (see Part I here)
STORAGE & ORGANIZING
HKPS:: How or did you learn your organizing habits and systems? Do you consider yourself to be organized or alternately do you tend towards hoarding stuff?
Case::There’s really little organizational structure in the studio. I like to feel a nestlike comfort in my current workspace- whether that’s at my desk or a portion of the wall that I’m drawing on. This space must feel a bit worn in, usually my tools are all spread across the surface or at hand. Eventually it gets cluttered with pencil shavings, paper bits, discarded drawings and ink and water cups. At that time I usually have a full sweep and clean. I’ll throw away failed drawings, paintings, gunked brushes etc… till I feel I’m back to 0. I feel accomplished, but usually have a harder time getting back into the work because it’s too tidy!
HKPS:: Do you ever find it challenging to locate certain things when you’re ready use them? How do you store tools and materials you use frequently to make your process easier?
Case:: This is usually not too much of a problem. I buy stacks of the tools I use the most (excel blades, kneaded erasers, micron pens, chip brushes, inks). That way when I lose what I was working with there’s always another nearby. Then I’ll clean up and find the previous versions. It’s irrational, but it works for me.
HKPS:: Do you notice cycles or phases of projects that are more or less organized in your creative process?
Case:: Everything seems mood based. When I’m feeling excited and inspired I’m working from scratch, creating something new. When I’m tired or feeling uninspired I’ll start chipping away at paper cutting or animation bits that don’t required as much critical thinking. This can lead to kickstarting the brain, but sometimes not. Like many artists my pieces run in distinctive phases – the happy adrenaline excitement, the slogging middle ground of reworking and finding the proper pathways, and then the excitement that builds again as you hopefully find a conclusion.
Case:: I hang notes from the wall. Usually just a word or two to remind me of something big picture. Right now I’m finding most pieces are heavily related to differences in scale- so I’ve written scale above my workspace. Also, I’ve been involved with a number of contract / fee negotiations with companies lately- some have worked out great, some haven’t. But I’ve written ‘respect yourself’ over the door (see last week’s photo)- because it helps me remember to not make concessions.
HKPS::How many projects are you usually working on at once?
Case:: 3 or 4 probably. Personal drawings of various sizes, paper cutout pieces that hang in the windows, and usually the long slog of a short animated film. Then there are the pieces to make money – book illustrations, magazine illustrations, animations for social media, etc… I like working on many things at once, but it’s satisfying to finish something and begin fresh.
HKPS:: Do you purge, clean or de-clutter your supply stash and space on a regular basis?
Case:: Definitely. I work in a way that builds clutter – paper shavings, graphite bits, old erasers, dull blades, used ink cups, paint covered paper towels. I don’t want to think about cleaning while I’m working. Eventually they build up and I get rid of the lot. I’m usually quite self satisfied that day, but I don’t think I ever end up making anything of any value while it’s clean!
HKPS::Do you think your creative success and/or your process is helped or constricted by discipline? Do you find that limitations or boundaries can help fuel your creativity?
Case:: They (limitations) can, but they can also be frustrating. During the spring I coach tennis and have to travel with the team. This means my mornings are sacred and I have to make sure to get as much work done as possible because I’m exhausted and sunburned after matches. But it also spits in a baseline anxiety while I’m working, looking at the clock and thinking of the things I need to do. I probably make my best work when I have some commissions ongoing (but not too many). This gives me structure and I can say, ‘Tonight I’m going to finish this project.’ Usually it works. I can’t really say that to myself about personal work though- it’s too finicky and I’m more indecisive.
HKPS::Do you set any self imposed limitations? Is there anything you intentionally don’t have in your studio due to distraction?
Case:: I’m pretty disciplined so this isn’t much of a problem. My apartment, TV, bed etc.. are right downstairs, but if I went down there and watched TV and took a nap the guilt would be enough to kick me right back up the stairs. I usually use the same papers and materials- and these have been carefully chosen over the years to give me a bit or order in my practice. I reach for the same types of things over and over.
Thank you so much Case for inviting us all to take a peek into your studio (home) and process! I love how light filled your loft space is and how cozy you have made the space (your little nest). It’s so important for each of us to understand our creative process in order to make the most of the time we have to sit down and create! If you want to see more work by Case, check out his video animations and his paper cut out’s at Corrigan Gallery in Charleston.
*The idea for the Inside the Artist Studio series began while attending an art retreat where I curiously observed the differences in the creative cycle of order and chaos and what that looks like for different individuals. I’m very interested in sharing how organizing affects the artist’s creative process. Some systems and order are vital to our creative PLAY and learning to find a balance that works to enhance your creativity is what I hope to share with you through these interviews.
Is there a particular artist whose ‘Tool kit’ you would like to see featured? Leave a comment below and le