Studio space - suitability?

Hi All,

I had a look at some studio spaces available to artists today and am
seriously interested in leasing one to do my jewellery work in. The
rent is VERY affordable - I think the organisation that runs the
place has ongoing government funding to be able to provide
affordable studio spaces for artists.

On the plus side the building that houses the studios is in the
heart of the city (close to suppliers etc), it is clean and well
maintained, security is good, it would be nice to work with other
artists as neighbours and the length of the lease is VERY negotiable
with the option to renew at the end.

On the negative side the main drawback I see is that there is no
running water in the studio itself - there is a shared sink at the
end of the hallway on each level. I am thinking I could quite
easily set up a camping type sink and fill the water bottles for it
from the communal taps every couple of days - or whenever it may be

The room is quite small but definately big enough for the little
equipment that I’ve collected so far. There are larger rooms in the
building (none of which are currently available) that I could put my
name down for to move into sometime down the track if I felt that
way inclined. There are a couple of power outlets and the room has
a timber floor, white painted wall with high ceilings and one large
high window. I forgot to check whether you’re allowed to hammer
nails into the wall and bolt things to the floor (thinking
workbench) but I’m sure there’d be some flexibility there.

I’m just looking for somewhere to get a start, where I can spend
time doing my art/jewellery work when I don’t have paid work on. I
feel very much inclined to take this studio space as I have really
missed the company of other artists since leaving art college and
also because I’ve looked for a long time and this is the only place
like it in my city and really the best I can get for the rent they
are asking - which is really about as much as I can afford anyway.

The reason for this post is because I want to make sure I am making
a level-headed decision if I decide to sign a contract for the
studio. I know that I can’t possibly have thought of everything as
this is my first time doing this and I am hoping those with studios
of their own might be able to advise me about pitfalls, questions I
should ask… and especially, how well you think I would cope having
only a camping water/tap setup.

Tina D=

dear Tina…just jump in! the rent is reasonable…move in and get to
work! I’ve worked on the floor at my folks house, in motel rooms,
in a “studio” 8’ x 10, in a tiny, unheated, uncooled, no water, no
bath plywood shop and in a really grand space with lots of custom
details. space never affected my work…passion does. Nothing can
stop you but yourself. good luck , marianne

If I compare what you are contemplating for your first studio to my
own not-so-sound decision, I would say that it does sound very good.
Being in the high priced NYC area (after working for 2 1/2 years in
my apartment), I decided to overlook many worse things than the fact
that the water is down the hall. No heat, almost deserted 500,00
square foot building, the sink was a full city block away, illegal
sublet, freight elevator of dubious quality, unlit staircase,
desolate location, what was I thinking?? I ended up moving out two
months later. I now refer to that studio as “the dungeon”. Oh, but
it did have a view of the entire Manhattan skyline…

Anyways, I think you should go for it. The interaction that happens
in studio buildings can be very positive. Also, it sounds
convenient should you wish to hold an open studio event or to meet
with clients (yes, you will have some of those soon!). I would say
that 75% of artists I know don’t have sinks in their studio, except
for the ones in rather decrepit buildings who have taken it upon
themselves to do their own plumbing. Just get a little cart or
dollie to transport the water back and forth.

Anyways, don’t worry to much about what you will do when you need
more space. Your situation may be quite different then. Better to
just get started working.