The New Of It
By Robert Beck
Many WSR readers were supportive of my quest for a new studio, and I want to thank all of you for your encouragement. I’ve landed well, but the flight wasn’t easy. Your cheering helped. What you know of me probably comes from what you see in the Rag. I’ve done more than twenty columns so far and hope to maintain that groove as the universe allows. I have plans, and the new studio will play a big role.
I admit to a touch of bitterness, leaving the old building next to Zabar’s. Many of the other artists who must find new studios are in a bad spot. There is no affordable space left in Manhattan, and having no place to work is like having no place to breathe. I could hear it in their voices when we talked. Like all relationships, the artist’s tie to their studio ends when it becomes clear there is no future. Once I knew I had to leave, the spirit drained right out of it. All the air was gone.
That old building was the real deal, with a sense of purpose and total lack of presumption. It was designed for artists. The room was always hot or cold or on its way to it. There was a Christmas tree seller right below my window. I was in the flight path of Engine 74 and half the ambulances in Manhattan (Boy, those folks are busy. And loud).
That studio was right for then, but the new one over Blondie’s on 79th is right for now. It has twice the space. I’m able to step back or to the side while I work. My paintings can be seen from the right distance. I can move easily between creating images and writing. It’s a place people are welcome to visit to see how my work looks and feels in real life. Where people old and young can interact with a working artist, ask questions, and talk about the art they do. They can examine what role it plays in their life. The new studio is support and protection, sanctum and Lyceum.
In my first column, I mentioned taking some of the ghosts with me to my new space, but I’m sure some will remain on the old property to establish liaisons with the residents of the new building once it’s finished. They are more than a little annoyed and ready to share their feelings. I’m moving on, beginning a new story in a new place. I’ve got the Banksy across the street. The Dublin House Bar. The tall tree cozy in front of Knitty City. I’m sure they will crop up in my work, somehow. It’s a new relationship, one that will encourage fresh and reinvigorated painting. That’s got me excited. I can breathe again. The ghosts that came with me are pretty happy too.
You can get in touch with Robert Beck through his website, www.robertbeck.net
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