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Student Blogger: Good studio practices for aspiring artists

April 26, 2011

Sarah Alfarhan, Student Blogger

Sarah Alfarhan

By Sarah Alfarhan

Whether you are an illustrator, animator, photographer or printmaker, your school probably offers open studios and labs for your use. You have plenty of space, and different equipments (like scanners, paper cutters, spray booths, Luci projection rooms) at your disposal. All of this space and equipments are there for you to make your art.

This is what I miss most from art school now that I have graduated. I miss the studios with all the equipments that I need. And I also miss the wonderful interactions between students.

Just because you have access to these studios doesn’t mean that you are the only user of them! You have fellow students and artists who you share the same space with. So, in this blog I am going to point out some “Studio Practices” that I feel are essential based on what I have experienced!

Sarah Alfarhan's studio

  1. Clean up after yourself. That should be pretty clear! If you are using the printmaking studio space to make some new etching prints; follow the rules of taking care of the studio (which are usually written on big posters that are hung all over the studio). If there are no rules to read, ask — or simply clean up after you are done. You don’t want to be responsible for messing up someone’s edition of prints because you didn’t clean a table properly. Wipe out ink that you sprayed everywhere, put scrap paper away in the recycling bin, clean the tools you have used and, if you were painting with oil paint, make sure that you clean the chair, table and floor around you. You wouldn’t believe how many times students or teachers sat on a chair and then realized that their clothes are stained with oil paint!
  2. Remember that the studio is shared with others. So respect their wishes if they are trying to focus and need you to leave with your chatty friends! Everyone has a different way of creating art, and everyone has their own methods in focusing and generating ideas. Be aware of that.
  3. Ask questions, don’t just assume things. Don’t assume that the other people in the studio will like the hip-hop or country music you listen to, and please don’t blast your music on speakers. Put on your headphones! Don’t assume that your classmate will be OK with you borrowing their tools while they are away.
  4. Ask in advance. Yes it is a studio space, but you should bring your own tools if you came to work in the studio, right?. As for shared tools like a scanner, be gracious and wait your turn. Also, don’t use the only computer attached to a scanner if you are not planning to scan! Use another computer.

I hope these simple tips were helpful.  At this time of the year, when students are rushing to get projects done for final crits, some students forget all about sharing studio space! Best of luck on your crits and portfolio reviews!

Taking a break from that  figure drawing assignment? Want to light up the mood in the studio? Check out this Tumblr.

University of the Arts, Philadelphia, Pa.

The morning view from an art studio Sarah Alfarhan used in college at University of the Arts in Philadelphia, Pa.

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