Artist and writer Sarah Trigg embarked on an ambitious field expedition across the United States in 2009, interviewing more than 200 artists in their studios. Through conversations with a wide spectrum of painters, performance artists, sculptors, photographers, and video artists Trigg set out to investigate contemporary art-making practices. The result is Studio Life, a fascinating photographic and written account of visits with one hundred of these artists, including William Wegman, Pat Steir, John Baldessari, Carol Bove, Rashid Johnson, Peter Halley, Fred Tomaselli, Tony Oursler, Jim Shaw, Michelle Grabner, Tauba Auerbach, Trenton Doyle Hancock, Dana Schutz, David Altmejd, and many others. Trigg asks her subjects to share the stories behind significant objects and working habits, focusing on six categories: mascots, collected objects, rituals, makeshift tools, residue, and habitats. These talismans and behaviors provide a framework for artists to reveal insights into their practices and the nature of the creative life. Intriguing and often humorous anecdotes emerge—of one studio’s mysterious sealed vault, another’s resident bunny—and countless sources of inspiration are unearthed; vintage comics, purses, and kitschy figurines, faded yearbooks, treasured cards, letters, and one handwritten reminder to “Quit Feelin’ Sorry for Yourself.” In addition, a visual index provides an image and biographical information for each artist. Accessible and relevant for amateur aesthetes and art-world professionals alike, Studio Life offers an insider’s view of the artistic process, an alternative approach to understanding art, and a compendium of today’s most compelling work.
Studio Life: Collections, Tools, and Observations on the Artistic Process is available here.