Come and take a peek inside Georgina/’G’/Art Terrorist‘s colourful and eclectic home art studio and get some of her hot tips on setting up your own ‘space for making’.
When curating my studio space, I want to feel inspired when walking in. It’s essential for me to be surrounded by my own work that I’m proud of. Being surrounded by this work encourages me but also ensures that I’m always reflecting on my art-making processes. In addition to my own work, I gather things from other artists that may inspire me or make me giggle.
Arranged on my walls are small drawings/illustrations done with Copic and Tombow Markers when I’m out of time to paint pieces. Splashed on my wall are some illustrations from Lauren Carney that I purchased from a lucky dip (only $15!) from an Etsy market. I put polaroids on the wall to give me inspiration from the relationships surrounding me and to make the space homely.
I’m an avid op shopper (some may say hoarder) and try to source the majority of my furniture (and clothes!) from these places. The Salvation Army is my favourite op shop. Op shopping not only benefits myself as they’re discounted prices but helps the environment as I’m reusing items that are already in the world.
I’d been searching for a huge desk for my studio for months and stumbled upon this giant old-school teacher’s desk in an op shop for only $20. It’s a perfect base for creating large-scale items. After months of painting on my floor and complaining about how this was distorting my paintings, my partner purchased me a table easel, which is the most helpful item I’d ever received as a gift. It allows me to sit straight and spend longer amounts of time creating artworks.
In my studio space, lighting is an important aspect. My eyes become weary when I try to tweak and add details to my work in low lighting. I picked a studio that has open windows that flood the room with light. Transparent curtains allow for the sun to come in but also for some privacy. At night time, I go for softer warm lighting with a paper lamp, which was purchased from Ikea.
I use a stationery organiser from TK Maxx and a remote control organiser from Daiso to help organise my brushes and pens. For other items, I use boxes and storage baskets sourced from op shops. It gives the studio an overall eclectic look and once again, repurposes old items.
For me, it’s essential to have my art supplies out to see. I can clearly see all my brushes, pens and paints, and this allows me to sit at my desk and think ‘what next?’, and then be inspired by the materials surrounding me. However, on the same point, it’s important for me to keep a somewhat clear desk. If your desk becomes a storage heap, you’ll be blocked from creating art as the first thing you’ll need to do before creating is clean up your desk.
Hot tip: If you’re displaying your pen drawings up on your wall, makes sure they aren’t too exposed to the sun, as it’ll cause some ink to fade!
I’m drawn to organic forms when creating; these forms often take the shape of female forms and nature. For me, John Berger inspired me in art school to transform my way of seeing the female form. Berger’s view of the female form is derived from a feminist standpoint and encourages me to create work that takes back the female form from the male gaze.
In my newer works, I’m inspired by nature. I find when creating nature-inspired work or having plants in my studio, I’m expressing forms of felinity and maternity. You have to care for plants, let them grow, watch over them and in that aspect, I’m filling a void I have in wanting a dog (who doesn’t want a little puppy?!) but also creating a space that inspires me and allows me to continuously tend to it and build it.
I was always creative as a child, but I was never able to fully grasp it. I enjoyed painting but was never able to create something I was happy with, and that was my own. I’d often draw eyes and frangipanis.
My mother decided that as an incentive, she’d pay me $2 a painting. I think my mother was not only my number 1 fan (she still has my art splashed on her walls today) but knew with practice and incentive, I’d be able to grasp this skill further.
I used old magazine pages of model’s faces and painted over them to start learning how to create portraits. I began with just black and white as I found the prospect of using colour terrifying. Then, with the aid of art teachers in high school, I transitioned into tricolour paintings. This is the act of utilising three colours in a painting. Tricolour paintings don’t need to be bright and highly saturated, but somehow this became my style.
Once I finished painting faces, I wanted to challenge myself and paint hands and naked female figures (which I was drawn to). I found whenever I searched for pictures of naked women, pornography kept coming up, and I was extremely frustrated. I didn’t want sexualised figures who were nude and posed for the pleasure of others to be my muse; I wanted my muse to be figures who were naked and honestly themselves.
I began researching art history and found an old marble sculpture, The Kidnapping of the Sabine Women by Giambologna, which I later visited on my 21st birthday (to this day, a photo I took of this sculpture is still my screensaver on my phone). The nudity featured in this sculpture isn’t sexualised; it’s raw and naked, instead of being there for other people’s pleasure. From this sculpture and others, I began painting hands and the female form. I have progressed and loosened up from this realistic style and started a more illustrative method now.
I think it’s important not only as an artist but as a human being, to look into history to inform how you will create in the future. Art history aided in developing me as an artist and creating things that are uniquely me. Without looking at how artists created in the past (and even the present), progression is almost impossible.