In today’s interview, we will take a peek In the Arrowmont Studio with Maia Lepo. If you read the last interview with Austin Riddle, you read about my trip to Arrowmont in August and plans to feature all the resident artists in coming weeks/months. Maia has a Jewelry studio at Arrowmont and has crafted a space that fits her needs for both creating work and showing it during their frequent open studio days. I loved seeing how what tools and equipment Maia brought with her and learning how she arranged this studio to fit her needs. Since I spontaneously popped in on her, these photos are not styled so this is typical of what her working studio looks like on an average day.
Maia Lepo’s Arrowmont Studio-Part I
HKPS:: When did you realize you were an artist?
Maia:: Probably not until I got an interview at Arrowmont for the artist in residency program. Even though I had graduated from graduate school with my MFA in metal I still felt that external forces were encouraging me. The year between graduate school and the residency at Arrowmont was the first time I felt like I had my concepts, materials, and ideas figured out and had to encourage myself to work and push myself. Getting the interview, and then offered the residency was validation for my hard work.
HKPS:: What materials you work with?
Maia:: Steel, silicone, monofilament, and silver for findings for ears and some mechanisms, like pin backs or chain.
HKPS:: Is making art your primary source of income? Do you have a partner who helps to support you?
Maia:: Making art is my primary source of income, but I also have a partner that helps support me as well.
HKPS:: How much time do you spend in your studio weekly/daily?
Maia:: I try to treat it as a normal, job, so probably 40-50 hours a week, but not all that time is in my studio. There is also computer work, photographing, shipping, and other marketing things I need to do.
HKPS:: Do you work in solitude/seek out solitude or enjoy company (music, other people etc)?
Maia:: I work by myself but often listen to podcasts or music in my studio. I do like having people around to talk to. My ideal situation would be to have a separate room for myself with some common space with other makers or metalsmiths.
HKPS:: Where do you make your art, how big is your studio and how long have you been in this space?
Maia:: I make my art in my studio. My current studio is at Arrowmont and it is the best and biggest studio I have ever had. I have been here for 3 months and have about 8 months left in it.
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?
Maia:: I am never in a space for a very long, usually only a year at a time, so I do not spend a lot of time planning systems for my space. But being in a lot of different studios I do have lots of ideas of how I want my studio to be set up once I am somewhere more long term. For me the most important thing I do try to make happen in any studio I am in is for storage. I like to be able to put projects, materials away that I am not working on. I like to be able to focus on one or two projects at any given time and not get too distracted.
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?
Maia:: I guess the most important thing right now is good visual documentation of your work, both on and off the body. My work is pretty durable, so I do not worry too much about storing it or the archival nature of the work. As for legacy, I think I just have to wait and see. I think that is something that hopefully will come eventually, but I do not think I am there yet.
Next week we’ll be back to share more of Maia’s tips on time management, storage and art studio organizing. In the meantime, Maia has been busy curating a show here and you can see more of her work on her website! Do you have any questions you want me to ask Maia next week? If so please leave them in the comments below!
*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 me know!