Photographer William Wegman and his dog-slash-muse Flo

Multimedia artist Luca Buvoli keeps a comic book he made when he was 9 about the adventures of "Super Mark" at his studio for inspiration.

Super Mark's adventures are in Buvoli's native language, Italian.

Buvoli revisits Super Mark in a major project called Not-a-Superhero

More of Buvoli's 9-year-old illustrations

Diana Al-Hadid hung rows of strings from a board with screws

Video artist Jesse McLean plots her narratives using pen and paper.

Sculptor Diana Al-Hadid has a hammer-hanging ritual in her studio. She faces two hammers kissing each other and draws a heart behind them.

William Wegman is a lifetime hockey lover and keeps his trophies at the studio.

A chair that Wegman often uses in his practice.

Christina Lei Rodriguez pulls debris from her past to make sculptures. This is her jewelery, including a childhood name bracelet.

Rodriguez keeps an envelope with a leaf that she sent to her great aunt from Vermont.

Chicago-based video artist Jesse McLean says " need that when you're an artist."

McLean also reminds herself not to forget about beauty.

McLean keeps a silhouette of her mother as a child in her studio as a talisman.

McLean keeps a "sample stash" of VHS Tapes in her studio for the montages she makes. "I do a ton of appropriated stuff, so I always have tons of tapes," she tells Trigg.

Leftover casings in Diana Al-Hadid's sculpture studio

Diana Al-Hadid's sculpture "graveyard" of casts and parts she can't let go of.

Another photo of Al-Hadid's graveyard.


4 Creative Lessons From The Studios Of Famous Artists

Painter and photo editor Sarah Trigg takes you inside the studios of several artists and reveals what you can learn from exploring their workspaces and creative rituals.

Back in 2009, Sarah Trigg, a painter and photo editor, was observing her own creative rituals in her Brooklyn studio when she began thinking about what other artists were doing in their studios. "What are their rituals?" Trigg wondered, "What do their collections look like?" She realized no one else had done a book-length work photographing artists’ studios, and says she felt "a calling, for lack of a better term," to create her new book, Studio Life: Rituals, Collections, Tools and Observations on the Artistic Process.

Here are just a few things she learned along the way from the 100 artists she includes in Studio Life, like conceptual artist John Baldessari, performance artist Nick Cave, and photographer and video artist William Wegman.

Studio Life: Rituals, Collections, Tools and Observations on the Artistic Process

When Tools Don’t Exist, Make Your Own

One thread that Trigg saw in many of the studios was that the artists she interviewed and photographed had made their own tools to make their work easier. In her own painting practice, Trigg made what she calls a "portable sink." "When I paint I use acrylic, which is thinned with water." Trigg explains. "I found I had to make a lot of trips to the sink, so I got a water jug with a spigot and cut a hole in the back so I could transfer it around." The most complex tool Trigg encountered was from the painter Gordon Terry, who created a special table to make geometric shapes that look like colorful mollusks. "Each table leg is connected to a hydraulic jack that can be much like a car can be raised or lowered to move around the paints on the surface to create his works," Trigg says.

Embrace Your Mascots

In her own studio, Trigg had a piece of foam that she kept every time she reorganized her studio, even though it was falling apart. A friend of hers dubbed it Trigg’s "studio mascot," because it helped her feel at home. She discovered other artists had mascots, too. Her favorite is one from the Nick Cave, who makes enormous pieces of wearable sculpture called Soundsuits. He has a four-foot tall African figurine he got at a Chicago flea market, and Trigg feels its presence is similar to the Soundsuits.

Be Inspired By Your Surroundings

Trigg was impressed by the way each city she explored—Miami, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, and San Francisco among them—influenced the artists who worked there. "In Los Angeles, as a New Yorker, it was palpable to me how much artists have access to the film and TV industry and the materials that are used in that," Trigg says. Joe Sola, a Los Angeles-based performance and video artist, hired a stunt trainer that trains actors to do their own stunts. He would then invite curators to his studio to witness his performance, in which he’d jump head first through a window (onto a mattress out of sight).

Allow One Project to Lead Naturally to Another

Trigg is working on a screenplay now. "It may sound like sort of a leap," from painting, writing, and photography, she says, "but it’s actually fairly feeling like a natural progression. "Screenwriting is very much image based, the way I laid out the book has a very subtle narrative." Studio Life deliberately starts with a door, in Carol Bove and Gordon Terry’s studio, and it ends with another door, in John Baldessari’s studio. "In between, the book goes through artists’ curiosities. Art touches on everything in life, from things that are about spirituality, things that are about anxiety, things about talismanic powers, things about our identity," Trigg says. Exploring the meaning of art in other people’s lives gave her the tools to create a meaningful new narrative.

Have a look through more images from Studio Life in the slides above.

[All Photos by Sarah Trigg | Courtesy of Princeton Architectural Press]

Add New Comment