New Year Inspiration: Art, Work and Studio Space

In the wake of such destruction (and bickering over who is more generous and who is less stingy), I have been seeking inspiration from creative spaces and the creative people who inhabit them.

Thanks to my friend, Jeanette, a fiber artist outside Chicago, I have received an dose of motivation in the form of David Seider's book, Artists at Work: Inside the studios of Today's Most Celebrated Artists.

Seidner's photos of dramatic work spaces belonging to his friends, mentors and heros are augmented by his essays on the hard-working artists in the context of their private, creative laboratories.

The studios profiled include modern masters: Cindy Sherman, Chuck Close, Roy Lichtenstein, Richard Serra, Jasper Johns, Francesco Clemente amoung many others others.

Studios by the Sea: Artists of Long Island's East End
is another glorious photogallery of artists' spaces, but the venue has left Manhattan for the weekend for the Hamptons.

[Thanks to Jeanette for introducing me to it, and the Saiia-Shrimplin's for the gift certificate that bought it!]

Showing the truly glorious along with the truly humble, this book by Bob Colacello and Jonathan Becker aptly illuminates the constant Bohemian tension: The compulsive need to flock together with like-minded souls, while craving to carve out a piece of solitude for one to work.

And, most important for us to witness and to understand, whether the individual is tidy as a pharmacist or messy as a trainwreck, all the artists follow a single commandment: "Go to your studio and get to work!"

Speaking of art as work, Milton Glaser has actually written the book on the topic; and, he has earned the right to brag about how much art and work has has done over the last 50 years.

Hugely prolific, Glaser is one of the few true Renaissance men in this country: He is an original intellectual, an inspired teacher, a lover of Italy, as well as a deeply passionate New Yorker by both birth and training. Milton Glaser was a driving influence of the visual language of the 60's and 70's.

Along with contemporaries Peter Max, Red Grooms and Seymour Chwast, Glaser is one of my personal heros in bringing joy and discipline to every project.

Whether Glaser is redesigning a restaurant interior, creating the ultimate logo for a new beer or for NYC itself, laboring upon a series of illustrations inspired by Dante's inferno, or composing a poster for Shakespeare in the Park, his love of color, shape and metaphor weave through his entire body of work.