For my first entry in my Notes from the Studio series, I wanted to talk about something near and dear to my heart: play space.

When I visit many people in their studio or work space, they have it set up with a single easel, table or other work space.  Sometimes there is some other organizational space, but rarely is there a disorganizational space.

In a space like that I immediately feel confined, constrained to work and focus in a very linear fashion.  It is good to have a space like that, where you can be very clear and focused, a place to work like a professional.  However, that is only one part of the artistic process, or indeed, life in general.  We also need a place to play, to be spontaneous, to investigate and try things.  A place where we are not professional, where we can follow our whims and see what happens.

Often times when I talk to an artist who is stuck, I look around their studio and look for a play space.  Where can they go to think?  Where can they try new ideas and see what might work, look for different ways of approaching a problem?

My current play space is very simple.  Just a wall where I have taped brown paper.  I can then tape up anything I want to play with and work from there.

There are better setups for play spaces, and I will write more about that later.

Robert Ian Najlis


China, Xi’an 2017

MFA Year 1

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