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Art house


Artists and musicians carve out elbow room wherever they can, from spare bedrooms and empty garages to posh studio spaces and art cooperatives.

Charles Martin July 27th, 2011

Procrastination and distraction are the natural predators of the professional artist. Success in the art world hinges on producing work without the benefits of domineering bosses or highly structured workplaces.

To ensure an ideal creative environment, finding the right space — whether a spare room or rented studio — becomes critical to building a career.

Space for the creative types is available for rent at places like Downtown Music Box and the soon-to-be-completed Paseo Plunge, but creatives aren’t always flush with cash, so working from home is a tempting way to save money. According to drummer and producer Steve Boze of Breathing Rhythm Studio, running a recording studio from home is difficult.

“Living where I work took a learning curve of discipline, but it really allows me to do my job more effectively, and is crucial to my quality of life,” Boze said. “I’m constantly seeking out motivation to deal with temptations of procrastination, but thankfully, it’s easy to find motivation in the people that I get to work with.”

Nomadic artists skipping across the country to promote their work have an even tougher time finding the time and space to create. Metro ceramic artist Nicole Moan spends so much time on the West Coast that she took up a separate studio apartment in an artist’s loft in a suburb of Los Angeles. Establishing a home away from home not only saves her money in hotel fees, but also affords her the chance to create tile murals or her signature ceramic corsets, whether she is in the midst of a promotional tour or back in Oklahoma City working from her home.

Artist Nicole Moan’s bathroom
Moan even utilized her own house as a life-size sketch pad, creating 3-D ceramic murals that double as flooring throughout her house and cover every inch of her bathroom in a lush and vibrant underwater scene.

But for every artist who can churn out work wherever they are, there are other artists like Jerrod Smith who prefer to have a separate studio where they can immerse themselves into a creative environment. In August, he will be opening The Society, an artist cooperative based in a warehouse nestled against the Plaza District on Blackwelder Avenue.

“It’s a growing district, people are interested in what’s happening,” he said, “so it’s a place where people are already seeking this environment.”

Smith said The Society will add a sense of the district as a working arts neighborhood. “We are selling artwork (in the Plaza), but there is no one actively producing work where people can come into the studio environment and check out the process. Seeing the end result is one thing, but seeing the process is just as important.”

Being a part of a shared creative environment has always helped Smith work, so he hopes to create that same vibe in The Society.

“I’d eventually like to have artists come in and do two-week residencies where we would set up a show for them before they take off to go home,” he said. “I want, when they go home, to tell people that Oklahoma is legit.”

 
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