One of the things that many people do not understand about art—especially in terms of turning it into a living wage—is that just because it can be done anywhere doesn’t mean it should be done anywhere.
It is actually incredibly important (and not just for tax purposes) to have a separate space that is just for your art. Here’s why:
1. You’ll have a better work-life balance
Even when we love creating art, it is important to create specific and distinct boundaries that separate our work from our lives. Without those boundaries, it is way to easy to convince ourselves to just “get a little bit of work done” while we are supposed to be doing other things like spending time with our families or sleeping.
Bringing the tablet to bed to do a little sketching or taking the laptop out in the yard to work on your invoices while the kids play is a slippery slope that leads straight into working all the time and, eventually, burning out. And, one of the best ways to reinforce the boundaries in your work-life balance is to literally separate the two.
This is particularly helpful for your kids and your friends. When you have a separate art space, they are more likely to respect the seriousness of your work and your art than they would if you regularly worked from the couch. You are interruptible when you work at the kitchen table, but not when you are in your studio.
2. You’ll switch gears more easily
As artists we all know how hard it is to switch gears when working on our art. It takes time to find the focus we need when we first sit down and maybe even more time to mentally put it away when we’re ready to be done for the day.
Having a separate space for your art and business forces you to move your body from one place to the other. Moving your body helps reinforce the idea of switching from one gear to the other and can help you create some distance between the two.
3. You’ll end up “training” your brain to be creative
Did you know that you can train your brain to be productive at specific times of the day? Focus and creativity can be turned into habits just like remembering to get up, brush your teeth, eat dinner and go to bed.
The same holds true for spaces. It’s a continuation of the “switching gears” theme we just talked about. If you make a habit out of going to a separate space to work—especially if it is a specific place—you can train your brain into habitually thinking “when I’m in this space, I need to focus on X.”
Want to create the perfect space? Here’s how:
It isn’t just the “separation” that makes your art studio different than your home; it’s also how you set it up.
In your home, your whole family gets a say in how things are decorated, what furniture to buy, what music to listen to, etc. In your studio, you are the supreme high commander of the space.
It all starts with the right surface. The type of art you do is going to dictate the type of surface on which you will practice your craft. If you do a lot of your work at a desk, artist’s or drafting table, consider raising it and converting it into a standing desk.
According to a post on the HealthyDesks blog, too much sitting can lead to problems with posture, mood, energy levels, etc. Standing up is just better for your health. Obviously, you’ll need to cater to your medium, and in some cases standing doesn’t fit. But you can still stand to do administrative work!
It is also important to decorate your space. Fill it with things you find inspiring and interesting. You might need to designate some of the space as “empty” space, especially if you are a photographer, but the space around your primary work area should help inspire and motivate you.
For art, you’ll definitely need decent lighting. The best spaces have large windows and are full of natural light to help your work. If this is difficult, consider using daylight simulating bulbs (not sun lamps, those are different). Prolonged exposure to these lights can be difficult for your eyes, though, so when doing administrative tasks, switch something softer.
Remember: your art might express who you are, but it doesn’t need to dictate your entire life. Having a studio space is actually healthier for you, and, if you’re trying to turn your art into a business, it can be financially beneficial, too!
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