When I look at the photograph of Remington’s studio, I don’t see clutter. I see inspiration. I imagine that every object held meaning for him and inspired him to paint. And write. He was a prolific writer and artist.
Objects have power. Energy. Drive. Objects evoke memories. Memories connect to the heart. The heart stirs passion.
When I had a studio in the Ford Building in the heart of the warehouse district, then in Northrup-King in Northeast, it had the same kind of feel; I surrounded myself with sensual objects.
At any one time in my art studio you could find:
- rusty wheel hubs to photograph (decay is inspiring)
- bags of cattail leaves and day lilies (to beat into handmade paper)
- hanging replicas of human spines bought from a specialty store at the Mall of America (to study and create my own clay models of backbones)
- clear, rectangular, plastic bags of red clay from Minnesota Clay
- rolling pins, camel’s hair brushes, lime plastic triangles, heavy wooden rulers, every size
- butterfly & moth wings gathered from their dead corpses, a lynx tail from a fur trapper given to me by a friend, a tawny snapping turtle shell the size of two breadbaskets
- photographs of sandhill cranes flying in formation over the Platte River in Nebraska
- an easel, a life-size black & white mural print of me & my art classmates taken by a locally famous photographer
- brown suitcase from the 50′s with brass hardware filled with old magazines (images for inspiration)
- candles, a Taos drum and rattle I bought at the pueblo in the 80′s
- fine-lined Staedtler ink pens, two shoeboxes full of Grumbacher acrylic paint tubes, a black leather portfolio of black & white photographs
- sandpaper in all grains, Craftsman screwdrivers, a small metal hammer, brass nails, steel tacks, a hand-rivet fastener, odorless paint thinner, miscellaneous cans of spray paint, cardboard stencil set, hanging lines of tiny beads from Bearhawk Indian Store, a small red sewing kit containing thread, scissors, buttons, needles, that my ex-partner’s parents brought me from a trip to China
- rusty woodstove parts from a half-buried, half-exposed land dump (everyone did this on farms back then) on the land of an artist friend’s grandmother in Thief River Falls
- rolled and stained, off-white canvas with ragged edges (used to roll out clay tiles)
- stretched canvas for painting, erasers of every type, size, texture
- red framed metal shelves, loaded with art books, giant hooks and pulleys, top shelf full of antique cameras, bottom shelf with a plaster mold of the snapping turtle shell that I used to make a papermaking sculpture (that mold is the coolest; I still have it)
- plaster mold of my face (at 39) when I still had the 2 moles on my cheeks, fewer wrinkles, and more time ahead of me
- 1 bees wax & 1 red clay cast of my face from that same plaster mold
The list could go on and on and on. But I’m running out of time. What I want to say about Remington’s studio is that the objects I am drawn to are his easel with the half finished painting, the round drum on the square wooden stand, the leather chaps lined up in a row on the wall, and the round-edged hat hanging almost smack dab in the center.
I imagine that hat on his head when he had lunch with Teddy Roosevelt. And I get a hunger to visit the Badlands.
Thursday, July 26th, 2007
-10 minute practice on Topic post, Remington’s Studio