I first visited the Jax building (where I have my working studio) some four years ago when I was first dating my husband. He took me to my first Art Crawl right in the artist community where he lived. Now I've had a working studio in the Jax for just over three years!
That first Art Crawl was an experience unlike any I had ever had. Visiting the studios of so many working artists was like a dream. Being an introvert (at least in new situations), I initially felt that walking into each artist's studio was a bit intrusive--especially when the studio was also the artist's living space. But my hubby assured me that the artists welcomed visitors during the crawl. I wandered in and out of studios, occasionally telling an artist that I liked their work. By the end of the night, I managed to even talk to a few artists. It was a pretty cool thing.
At that first Crawl, my favorite building was the Jax. I don't know...I think because it reminded me of the art classrooms of my childhood. The building is nothing fancy--just lots of working space for artists (no living space). During that first visit, I was also impressed with the work of many of the artists in the building--many of them painters that are still at the Jax today.
(a shot of the outside of the Jax--including the mural on the side of the building)
I've been in my Jax studio for over three years. When I was moving in with my hubby (in the Lowertown St. Paul neighborhood), we knew we needed more space. Rather than finding a bigger home, we decided to share a studio that could be a dedicated art space for me and also work space for my hubby. We found a great space in the building that I loved--the Jax.
When we looked at the studio it was pretty plain, but a good space--lots of storage and walls to eventually show artwork on. And most importantly to me, it had great light (for painting). The owner told us someone else was coming to look at it. Hubby and I looked at each other, gave each other a nod, and said "we'll take it."
The fun part was that we could paint the studio walls however we wanted. It was pretty grungy when we moved in. At the time, we lived in an apartment down the block with all white walls. Boring! I headed to a discount paint store--picked several different colors that would work together...and we went to work. The colors are warm and feed my creative juices. These pics are from past Crawls when the studio was "cleaned up".
(Joel's side of the studio!)
I know I'm a lucky woman to now have two fabulous studio spaces. The Jax remains my primary working space for painting. It's great to have a place to make a mess and not have to clean up (except when I'm opening my studio to the public). It's also a welcome retreat--a place to spend some alone time, crank some music and paint away my troubles (or spill my joy onto the canvas).
I'll be cleaning up my studio a bit for First Friday this week! Along with some of those other wonderful Jax artists I'll be opening my studio from 6-9 p.m. on Friday, March 5th. Feel free to stop in and take a peek. And don't be bashful...I do like talking with visitors about my work (the other artists feel the same!)