I find it hard to be creative when I don’t like my surroundings. Sure, creativity and ideas can come at any time and place (on the tube, at night, shopping for groceries, on a walk) but working productively, for me, requires a good space to work in. What makes a good work space are different things for different people but I’ve thought about it and I think the key thing for me really is lighting. It sounds a bit strange maybe and of course I wouldn’t cram myself up on a windowsill or anything just because the light there is good but what I mean is poorly lit rooms gives me headaches (and I’d rather not have headaches). I also don’t like it when there is too many things up on the walls, a blank wall is more inspiring to me than one filled with images and anyhow it can be nice to relax your eyes on something blank once in a while.
A couple of days ago I went to visit photographer Heather McDonough in her studio in East London. Her studio also functioned as a storage space and she probably had more shelves with books and photographs and negatives than actual desk space for her to sit at. Heather makes a lot of stuff (like small photographic books) to get ideas out and see them physically in front of her and because of that, the studio has filled up with many projects during the years. Compensating for the amount of things though, the walls of the studio are kept clean and clear of images which for her is good balance.
Heather’s studio, photos by Lisa
Heather also mentioned that the important thing for her in a space was the ability to move things around depending on the projects everyone was working on as she shared the studio with two other people, a fashion photographer and an artist. As the space is so small- to respect, support, help and collaborate with each other when needed is also vital and that I think is a great way to go at it no matter where you work.
There are so many aspects to consider when setting up a studio (some of them mentioned in a previous post here) and for Heather, her studio works wonderfully. It is tricky though, to create an environment for someone in a creative profession so that what you surround yourself with and the space you are in don’t dampen your creativity. Heather’s space for me for example, wouldn’t have suited at all. Not that I have my own studio yet. When I’m not at uni- working cross legged on my bed will have to do.