A room of her own, Artist studios, Creativity, inspiration, Mazatlan, painting, printmaking, San Miguel de Allende, Virginia Woolf
The famous line by Virginia Woolf, “A Room of One’s Own”, has always struck a chord with me. The quote comes from a series of essays she wrote in 1928 about carving out a space for oneself – both literal and figurative. It was later adopted as a feminist statement in the 60’s and 70’s. I translated this ‘room’ as a creative space, a refuge – a studio for the artist. As a young woman coming of age in the 70’s, it was important for me to have just that.
I claimed my first studio while still an undergraduate student at University of Florida. This was a shared space with some photographers, a rather bohemian situation. And even though money was hard to come by, living in student poverty as I was, somehow I found a way. I needed this creative space away from academia, boyfriends, and other distractions. I was in the process of defining myself as an artist and making that declaration to the world. To have a studio, ‘a room of one’s own’, was a commitment.
When I moved to California in 1979, I got a job right away as a graphic artist fulfilling my financial obligations. But needing to feed my artist side as well, I answered an ad in Artweek magazine for a studio partner in a printmaking studio in San Jose. Betty and I had a successful partnership sharing a studio for almost 20 years. We moved studio and presses twice – from a converted 2 car garage in Campbell to the Citadel, an old cannery warehouse on 10th and Taylor, and later to the “new” Citadel on 5th and Martha. Having a studio helped define me as a serious artist in the community.
I later moved to Oakland and developed a studio there as well – but not for long, as my heart was pulled in another direction – Mexico. In 1999, I bought a small house in Mazatlán’s Centro Historico (for $27,000usd!) and soon after, built a studio on the 2nd floor. This was going to be my ‘studio abroad’ – my dream, my pie in the sky. I had envisioned South of France or Italy, but after one visit to Mazatlán, I was hooked. This beautiful city on the Sea of Cortez had just what I was looking for and was to be my haven away from the maddening crowds (and traffic!) of the San Francisco Bay Area. It didn’t take long, less than 2 years, to move there full time and create my dream life.
Fast forward to 2018. I am in San Miguel de Allende and just built a 3rd floor studio with plenty of natural light, space for painting, printmaking and workshops. Here, I am in a city known for its arts community and gallery scene – and an opportunity to introduce my work to a new market. Call it the 17year itch – I was definitely ready for a change.
I have always considered an artist’s studio as sacred space – a place to grow, create, and thrive as an artist.