Today’s Artist Interview is with TWO local Charleston, SC artists Hirona Matsuda and Alan Jackson (Architect). I’m sharing these artist together because they currently have an incredible collaborative installation called Wall Line, up at Jericho Advisors Art Gallery. I met both artist at the opening of this Piccolo Spoleto exhibit and I am in love with the outcome of their collaboration and installation. 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 I
HKPS::When did you suspect or know you were an artist?
Hirona::I’ve made things since I was little, but I think I realized in my early twenties that I could call myself an artist and not feel strange, but mostly because I was more used to others referring to me that way.
Alan::I suspected I was an artist and capable of producing work of value when I was 25 or 30 years old.
HKPS:: What materials do you work with? Do you find it challenging to locate certain things when you’re ready use them and do you store things frequently used in highly visible locations?
Hirona:: I work with found objects and hand tools. The library of objects has an evolving catalogue system which mostly exists in my mind. Items that are particularly tied to the projects I’m working on I keep out on display around the studio. It sets the tone of the work and remains a visual reminder of what I am trying to accomplish, almost like a still life set up.
My tools live in a few metal boxes, but the most frequently used stay on shelves and pegs so that I can reach them easily. Also old tools are so beautifully made that I hate to hide them away.
Alan::I did black and white photography for about 20 years. Since then I have been using pen and ink, graphite and acrylic paints. I typically keep the pens I’m working with handy beside my drawing board and store used pens in nearby drawers. I keep the paper in flat files and keep the wood panels either put away in a cabinet or stored nearby wherever I can find room. I keep work in progress and recently completed work nearby and visible for reference and critique. I don’t typically have trouble finding things – but when I do have trouble finding things it can be very stressful. I am running out of storage room.
Hirona:: I make most if my work in my home studio. It is about 200sf but attaches to my front porch where more making happens. Especially if I’m using products that need good ventilation like varnishes etc. Before I moved into this space in 2012 I worked in a studio half the size that was situated between my kitchen and living room. My studio time is much more focused now.
Alan::I have a drawing board set up in our Living/Dining area along with cabinets for storing supplies. I have an office set up, also with a drawings board, in a spare bedroom. I’ve had the drawing board set up for about 3-4 years.
Hirona:: At any given time there are at least three pieces in the works, but my max at one time was 30 (small works). I find that a body of work is more cohesive if the individual works are all started and finished at the same time. It also helps speed up my process to jump from piece to piece as I wait for paint and adhesive to dry and set.
Hirona:: I would say that running Artist & Craftsman is my primary job and main source of income. Lots of my work is not something I can sell easily, it is sight specific or made with a particular audience in mind. Contemporary artists coming up in this city have trouble getting paid for their time. There are many projects out there that could sustain a working artist if compensation for the job was in line with the skills being utilized.
Alan::I am an architect by trade and training and try to make a living at it. Since my work space is in my home, I am in the studio every day. I would like to have the discipline to draw every day but I don’t.
Hirona:: I definitely planned for more shelf space and more tabletop area. Even so I end up placing wooden panels over stools to create more surfaces to spread out on.
Alan::I’ve really only known working out of my house or in an office. I have typically had some sort of drawing/work space in my living space which grew from the need in architecture school to have a personal work space. I’m influenced by catalogs and maybe other studios I visit.
Thank you Hirona & Alan for sharing with us a bit about your spaces and how you each work! Find the second half of this interview here including any tips they has to share. If you are in Charleston, go check out the Wall Line installation that was featured 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!