This is the typical love-hate relationship that makers have with the precious remaining studio spaces in a town transforming into a resort city of often-empty residential investment units. We have no choice but to think differently about how to make space to make, to reflect, to exchange ideas, to breathe.
A quick tour of the craigslist 'artists' category reveals how many locals are trying to hold onto their threatened studios.
One option is pack up everything and sublet it for part of the year to make enough coin to pay the always-increasing rents for the remaining months. Another is to sacrifice the space by subdividing it, or even share it in daily shifts by storing all work at the end of the day, like back in art school. Those of us who aren't (yet) willing to make that kind of sacrifice are constantly on the hunt to make the best use of the little space we have. This is how I've become addicted to garage storage porn.
Yes, while other people are checking their Facebook status or Instagramming or Angrybirding, I'm googling images of revamped New Jersey garages. My pulse races when I spot a particularly sexy idea that I can adapt for sorting paint, storing rolls of canvas or organizing all the found stuff essential to my sculptural work.
I have been so bent on creating blank walls and empty surfaces by stowing my tools and materials in cubbies, under counters, in drawers and behind curtains that I didn't want the hassle of hauling it all out -- or putting it all back. The neatness has been paralyzing because just the thought of the clean-up is too high-maintenance. My thinking has been more salon than workshop.
Now I see that seeing is everything and everything needs to be in its place but within eyesight and arm's length too. More like a working kitchen, or a ship's engineering room; less like an all-white micro-condo.
I am reminded of the old Gary Larson cartoon of the one rat saying to the other with hands on hips, "Crikey, it's supposed to look like a rat's nest."
Some working-studio ideas to steal, from one storage-porn addict to all the others out there: