Today we head inside the Studio with Craig Colorusso who I met while I was a docent during the recent installation in Charleston of Sound + Light. Craig and I got to talking and he not only agreed to do the interview partially virtual (he’s provided the photo’s below of his studio in Arkansas) but I also came to watch him dismantle and meticulously deconstruct and pack out the entire massive 4 part installation into his van. This week I’m thrilled to share his studio organizing tips and next week we will bring you the pack out and some specific questions related to his process! These photo’s are not styled in any way, so this is typical of what his working studio looks like on an average day.
Inside the Studio with Craig Colorusso-Studio Sneak Peek Part I
HKPS::What age did you suspect or know you were an artist?
CC::I always knew but tried to hide from it.
HKPS::What mediums do you work with and are there specific tools or materials you find challenging to keep organized or locate when you need to use them?
CC::I make sounds mostly with a guitar. Sometimes with a Bass Clarinet. I also make things out of wood. Sometimes as finished pieces other times as a model to be made out of something else. I’m fond of metal. And I daydream about concrete.
HKPS:: Where do you make your art, how big is your studio and how long have you been in this space?
CC::I live in a house with 1 wife, 1 daughter and 2 cats. We’ve been here for 3 years. I currently build things in a 2 car garage. It’s filled with tools and materials. A car has never touched the space since we’ve been here. Directly above the garage is a guest room that has all my music gear. It’s not much: 1 Electric guitar, 1 acoustic guitar, 1 Hybrid, a Bass Clarinet, a Bb Clarinet, 2 amplifiers, a few guitar pedals, 1 computer and some cymbals. This is the second time I’ve lived where I can keep things set up. When I lived in Brooklyn I had a small living space with some room to play.
HKPS::How many projects are you usually working on at once? Is this due to space constraints, creative process, organizing systems or other influences?
CC::Things take time to unfold for me. I am currently working on 4 projects that are at varying stages of being finished. I like to think about things for a while. But I’m also constantly reminded of how little time I left. So juggling the two ideas is a constant theme. Things change. Very simply I would say I make systems and these systems are constantly being updated.
HKPS::When you began working in this space did you plan any systems for the overall set up or did you let things evolve organically? How did past studio spaces or systems influence this space?
CC::My studio space is part working and part storage. The two things I store are pieces that travel and materials. I used to work as a carpenter so I had access to a lot of things to be thrown away that I kept. Some things I have used some I have not but they seem too good to throw away. My aspirations outweigh my skills. So I have piles of things I’ve picked up over the years.
HKPS::Is making art your primary “job” or source of income? How much time do you spend in your studio weekly/daily?
CC::It is my full time job. A few years ago I had a very romantic vision of being a full time artist; I would sip tea and think in a bright colored robe. In reality I’ve never done that. I don’t even have a robe. I spend most of my time promoting what I’m doing and\or chasing new opportunities. Which is certainly not a bad life. I have always thought art could expand beyond the work.
HKPS:: How or did you learn your organizing habits and systems? Do you consider yourself to be organized?
CC:: I would not consider my self organized. But I do hope to get there some day.
HKPS:: Do you purge, clean or de-clutter your supply stash and space on a regular basis?
CC:: I despise clutter when I’m playing music. I like space and I like to fill it with sound unaltered by my baggage. There are some non music items in the room but very few. Downstairs is a little different. I have to store materials and have a space for my current pieces. I suppose a dream scenario would be to have a room maybe 20X20 that’s painted white that has a chair in it and nothing else. A place to come and think without the world bothering me. Once again this is a little bit romantic fantasy. I don’t think I’d be more productive with my bare white room so do I really need it?
HKPS::Is there anything you keep in your studio strictly for fun or inspiration? Is there anything you intentionally don’t have in your studio due to distraction?
CC::I have a few things upstairs that people have given me but not much. Sometimes I listen to the radio when I work downstairs. Mostly sports radio especially during football season.
Thank you Craig for for sharing a sneak peek into your working space and how you work! In Part II I have more from Craig about how he managed to fit 80,000 square feet of art installation into one little van!
*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’ or studio you would like to see featured? Please leave a comment below and let me know!