In today’s interview-Part II, we will take a peek at art studio organizing In the Studio with Andrew Guenther . We met this spring in Brooklyn in his studio through my brother who has known Andrew for years. Andrew works in many mediums, jewelry, mixed media, painting, digital, photography etc and he has quite a small space so read on to learn how he keeps things in order. These photos are typical of what his working studio looks like.
Andrew Guenther Art Studio Organization-Part II (see Part I here)
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?
AG::I leave a lot of things partially visible. The artworks and projects become like post-it notes. If it’s something I want to work on I have to be reminded of it otherwise I will start something else. Some things seem more important to me so I work on those first. Making art is slow. I never understood questions like “how long did that take you?” because there is a lot of thinking time involved.
HKPS:: Do you notice cycles or phases of projects that are more or less organized in your creative process?
AG::If I leave a project for too long without working on it, then it usually gets scrapped or may feed another piece. I don’t like wasting materials but some things go too far out of control. I just took apart an assemblage that I started three years ago because I didn’t know where to go with the piece. I couldn’t throw the parts in the garbage because I see some potential.
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?
AG::I feel organized in the sense that I know where everything is if I have to call upon it. I could probably do a little more with labels and trashing old papers.
HKPS:: Do you purge, clean or de-clutter your supply stash and space on a regular basis?
AG::When I bring a new piece of equipment into the studio something always gets pushed out. I think this is helpful. I have a hard time letting go of materials but I feel too organized to consider myself a hoarder.
Discipline, Time Management & Systems-Are they anti creative?
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?
AG::Limitations and discipline are essential to success more in the outside world in terms of exhibiting. In the studio I have a pretty focused aesthetic so projects are paused immediately when I see them going a different direction than the original intent.
HKPS:: What tips can you offer regarding your use of schedules, systems, tools or processes that help you maintain organization in your studio? Do you use sticky notes (see comment above about in progress work)? How/where?
AG::I like notebooks. The kind you write in. I’ve used digital notes and word documents but I think writing something down by hand even if you never read it again is a very good method to stay focused. I also like all the notebooks to be the same size. They should also be filled front to back before moving on to the next. Digital files are difficult for me. I’m a visual person so computer filing doesn’t work for me.
HKPS:: How do you store finished artwork?
AG::I have off-premise storage. Everything in storage is wrapped in plastic and sometimes cardboard. Small works and paper works stay with me because I don’t pay for climate control. I have a lot of shelves in the studio for the small stuff and if something doesn’t fit, it gets in a pile for storage. I’ve also had studio visits at the storage facility in the past and it’s never bothered me.
Thanks Andrew for your great insight into your creative process and sharing your tips on time management, storage and art studio organizing. Please check out both his Fine Art website and Eat the Leaf -Jewelry. So glad we got to spend this time learning from your studio practice!
*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 let