Today we return Inside the Studio with Hirona Matsuda & Alan Jackson, two local Charleston, SC artists. Hirona Matsuda and Alan Jackson (Architect) currently have an incredible collaborative installation called Wall Line, up at Jericho Advisors art Gallery and I met both artist at the opening of this Piccolo Sploetto exhibit. I love with the outcome of their collaboration and installation! For this interview (Part I is here) each artist provided photo’s of their home studio’s, with a special thanks to Camela Guevara for Hirona’s studio images. These photo’s are not styled and are typical of what her working studio looks like on an average day.
The idea for this series, Inside the Studio began in while I was attending an art retreat at Penland. While there I observed the differences in the creative cycle of order and chaos and what that looks like for different individuals. In this series I’m interested in showing 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.
Hirona and Alan’s Interview and Studio Sneak Peek Part II
HKPS:: How or did you learn your organizing habits and systems? Do you consider yourself to be organized?
Alan::Organizing large drawings with flat files and storing materials came from my experience in architecture school and architectural offices. I’ve learned other habits through trial and error and looking for products that solve specific storage problems. I’ve also had furniture built to help with storage challenges.
Hirona::I am very compartment oriented, if not organized in a traditional sense. I try to mark things, but sometimes materials are hard to categorize. Things that reflect light could also be things that magnify or are metallic. I’d say that I learned these methods from my parents. Both have very specific ways of fitting and organizing things that make sense mostly to them.
HKPS:: What tips can you offer regarding your use of schedules, systems, tools or processes that help you maintain organization in your studio?
Alan::From my career as a Project Manager in a Architecture firm that had as many as 15 employees I learned and used the Daytimer system. I’ve modified it into two books instead of one. I have a Monthly Planner (Staples) where I keep track of all appointments, deadlines and other significant dates. This is invaluable for keeping me on track and aware of what’s coming up. I also have a daily journal where I keep my daily To-Do lists and where I write down events of the day. When I’m working on a project, I will work all hours of the day and night to accomplish short term goals – which help keep me focused on long term goals. When working intensely, I do try to work every day. I like to hang works-in-progress on the wall so I can study them. I try to clean up, organize and put away materials after each work session. I try to eliminate distractions so I can focus.
Hirona::I don’t set a schedule for myself, I let the pressure of deadlines or genuine inspiration motivate me. By rotating my focus from piece to piece and seeing everything together I can keep tabs on my progress and regulate the pace I’m working at.
HKPS:: Do you purge, clean or de-clutter your supply stash and space on a regular basis?
Alan::I try to purge periodically, but not often enough and not thoroughly enough. I like to keep scraps for future use.
Hirona::Yes definitely, but it is always a bad decision. Inevitably the day after I put something on the curb I realize it would have been perfect for the piece I’m working on. On the plus side then I know what kind of thing to be on the look out for. This usually results in something even better.
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?
Alan::I have books and pieces of art for inspiration; a tv and a turntable for fun and white noise and windows for gazing out of. Other than those things I try to keep the space and decoration minimal to reduce visual noise and distraction.
Hirona::My studio is so full that no one thing could possibly be distracting. I listen to podcasts on my computer all the time, but I do find that turning on a movie can lead me away. I suppose I also keep my phone at a distance so that I’m not tempted to reply to emails etc. Engaging in social media is the worst distraction in the studio, funny that it is also a necessity for getting your work out there.
HKPS:: Do you notice cycles or phases of projects that are more or less organized in your creative process?
Alan::The process can get chaotic in the midst of a project but then I try to pull everything together and organize it at the end. I tend to work more when motivated by deadlines and specific projects such as exhibits. When not working toward deadlines, I tend to relax and wait for inspiration rather than working toward it.
Hirona::Not really. When collaborating with other artists more planning is necessary. Otherwise I’m pretty much stick to the same process.
HKPS:: How much thought do you give to your artistic body of work in terms of historic value and the overall legacy you will leave behind? How do you store/archive your work or records?
Alan::I coat all finished pieces with archival spray lacquer for protection. I use archival mediums – archival ink, archival paper
Hirona::Being a materials nerd I think about the archival nature of my work and try to use the best. Lots of the organic objects are going to change over time though. I have pieces that have a beautiful patina now that they didn’t have ten years ago. Because of this I like to photograph everything during all of its various stages.
Alan::That I do need to continue to be diligent about organization, storage solutions and archiving.
Hirona::I’m not sure. Maybe that there is a method to the madness:)
Thank you Hirona & Alan for for sharing with us a sneak peek into your working studio spaces and how you each work! If you are in Charleston, there is still time so go check out the Wall Line installation at Jericho Art Gallery in West Ashley! It’s amazing to see how totally different styles of working and art can come together so beautifully in a collaboration! Links to each artists work and contact info can be found above so if you are in Charleston or beyond check out these artists work now that you’ve seen their creative spaces!