Two years ago, I opened my studio with an exhibit entitled “scratch that”. It was a chance I took to change up what I was doing (making art at home and showing in a coop) and to go for a dream- a place of my own where I could work and show my work amid a community of artists.
For two years in Barracks 15 Studio 203, I have asked myself how to turn part of an outdoor breezeway built in the 1920’s into my art. I wanted to create art there, show art there and I wanted my studio to be art. Countless paintings completed, 24 First Friday Events, two tree lightings, two block parties, two Halloween parties have brought people of all types to see my work. To be able to talk art with so many is good, but my greatest pay-back for having a studio often accessible to the public has been watching someone enter into my work with me having said a word.
During my two years at Liberty Station, collaboration opportunities have come my way. Among them, a chance to work with San Diego Repertory Theater and develop custom art to complement a play entitled “Outside Mullingar”. Because of my background in writing and literature, I was beyond excited for this opportunity. When the time came for my exhibit in their art gallery, it was under reconstruction so I had the opening in my studio, complete with Irish music in the hallway.
Later, I was invited to curate a series of group shows in the Command Center at Liberty Station in order to get the resident artists’ work into a common space where the variety and quality of artwork could be visible day and night to visitors of the Arts District Liberty Station. It has been an honor and pleasure to curate these quarterly shows.
Liberty Public Market has been supportive of our artists since their opening. Currently many Liberty Station artists have art on display. My 6×4’ painting entitled “How Time Moves” has a spot. I also had a chance to set up a table in the Public Market every Tuesday morning with some of my smaller paintings in hopes of selling them, but also in hopes of letting visitors know that just outside the door, they could find not only acres of beauty, but also open artist studios to visit. From there, I was invited to set up a Pop Up Gallery in a temporary space between Roast and Grape Smugglers. This exposure provided a chance for me to begin to understand the idea of art in public places.
While my current upstairs studio has been the ideal spot for me to create work because of the enormous windows providing excellent light, air, a quiet park-like view and access to a community of artists, finances have been a challenge. Although I am not relying on my art to support my living expenses (as many artists are), it is important to me that my art at least cover its own expense. For this reason, I am moving to a smaller downstairs location in Barracks 16 Studio 104 where more foot traffic and less rent will hopefully allow me to balance financial responsibility with my creative spirit.
Over the past six months, my sales have been increasing. I am not sure why, but I think Liberty Station is beginning to be recognized as the Arts District that it is. People are buying art to have shipped home to them as if San Diego were a place where art could serve to remind them of their stay, and as if Liberty Station were a place to find original San Diego art. Of course, I am looking forward to my next two years at Liberty Station, grateful to be a part of this community of artists in this historic setting.