Here at Art on a Postcard, we are always so grateful for the extreme generosity of our artists not only for donating a postcard-sized work of art to help us raise money for The Hepatitis C Trust, but for the amount of time that they set aside to support us.
This year we are delighted to be hosting our exhibition at WeWork in Devonshire Square. WeWork provides beautiful, collaborative work spaces offering ambitious businesses the space, community and services they need to thrive. Taking inspiration from WeWork we decided to meet up with some of the 170 artists who kindly donated work to this year’s Secret Auction to discuss their studio spaces and how it influences their practice.
We met with printmaker Carol Robertson to discover what makes her studio so special.
How would you describe your studio?
I have a beautiful ACME studio in Shoreditch where I’ve been located for over 20 years. ACME is an association that manages artists’ studios all over London at affordable rents. The building is entirely occupied by artists and there is always a friendly working ambiance there. My studio has good natural light, high ceilings and lots of white wall space. It’s perfect for the work I make: I often work in quite a large format, in series, so it’s good to have space to work on several paintings at any one time. I also need space for storage. The building is properly heated in winter so as wellbeing comfortable to work in it’s warm and dry which is good for the work.
How does your personal environment affect your creative practice?
My London studio is my main working space and I organise my space exactly as I like it. That said I have actively sought working residencies and fellowships in very different environments, especially in rural or coastal areas. I like the changes in routine, the challenges of different working spaces and the input and inspiration that comes from landscape and nature, in contrast to urban life. I would say that colour is the thing that’s most obviously influenced when I’m working away from home. That, and perhaps being more experimental in response to new stimuli. However, even in a temporary work space, I still have to set things up in a way that’s both personal and functional.
What makes a good space to create art in?
I need to work in a studio that’s well lit, clean and dry and I like working in an organised space. I normally make precise geometric paintings and if I allowed my studio to get too chaotic then my mind would be chaotic too. It would visually distract me from working. I need a calm environment that allows me privacy and solitude. When I’m working away from home, certain rituals persist wherever I am. I take essential materials with me and I create a temporary layout that feels like mine as oppose to leaving it impersonal. I don’t need a huge space to work but I have to personalise it; listening to music, having books and other objects and images around me. My most recent residency has been in the Midi Pyrenées, working for a month surrounded by spectacular landscape in a huge space with stone walls and an extraordinary 8m wooden table: I had to adapt to using the table rather than the walls for painting, but I loved working on the stretched-out horizontal.
Born in 1955, Carol Robertson has lived and worked in London since completing her MA in Painting at Chelsea College of Art in 1981. She was a Rome Scholar in 1993. She was a visiting lecturer at Cardiff School of Art from 1983 until 2003 and a Research Fellow there until 2008. Recent solo exhibitions include Garden Project, Kunstgarten, Graz and Colour Stream, Flowers, New York, both in 2012. In 2013, Circular Stories, Galerie allerArt, Bludenz and Carol Robertson - Paintings Watercolours Prints at Peter Foolen Editions, Eindhoven and in 2015, Carol Robertson - Circular Stories, Flowers, London. Group shows in 2015 include the Royal Academy Summer Show and From Centre at Loud & Western, London