What does the ideal artist’s studio look like? How much time does an artist spend there? Is it a sacred place? This week in 'The Artist’s studio' series: Peggy Franck, who currently has a solo at Stigter Van Doesburg in Amsterdam.
Do you visit your studio every day?
My studio, a large bright space with a view of the IJ, is close to the apartment where I live. It feels like an extension of our home, and we can often be found there. This has grown a bit during the lockdowns. Our son couldn't go to daycare anymore, so he just went to the studio. I am also on my own a few days a week.
What time do you leave for your studio, and how: on foot, by bicycle, public transport or car?
I usually cycle to my studio around nine o'clock.
Do you hold on to certain rituals in your studio? Music or silence?
Generally, I work in silence, especially when I am in the thinking/making process. Since I am a mother, there is always noise and fun around me. When I am alone in the studio I enjoy the silence for a while. At other times – when I'm doing more practical things – I sometimes listen to a podcast. I liked 'Working title' by Alix de Massaic & Zoë Dankert. Sometimes I turn on 'Where should we begin' by Esther Perel, or 'This is love', or something from The Guardian. Usually the podcast disappears into the background again and I wander off into my work. If I'm a bit stuck in my thoughts, I also like to turn on music and let myself be carried away. It can be something exciting, energetic, or something completely different that touches my feelings.
How important is light to you?
That is hard to say; light is essential to my work and of course to me. Light is important for painting and I also only shoot with daylight. Fortunately, there are fine skylights and beautiful large windows in the studio, allowing a lot of light to enter. I also like that the light is always different, and seeing what effect this has on my work.
What does your work process look like? Do you work everywhere and all the time or does work only commence the moment you enter your studio?
It’s not so black and white. Sometimes I have my work in my head all the time. Other times I really have to go to the studio to get that focus. Most of my work process takes place in the studio. Another important moment in the process is when I hand over the work to have my photos printed at the photo lab. I continue to find it exciting to see what can then arise from analogue technology. Sometimes, when I'm making work on site, my studio moves, as it were, into an exhibition space. I think these are really great occasions, when the space becomes 'my canvas' for a while.
How much time do you spend on average per day in your studio?
I'm usually there from about 9:30 AM to 5:00 PM. Very occasionally I go back in the evening to continue working, but that really only happens rarely. It is also very nice in the evening. The water is then so quiet, because there are hardly any boats left. Plus in the summer, with the sun setting, it really is a magical place.
Is your studio a sacred place?
I don't know about sacred, but I do love my studio very much. It is a very romantic place. I like to shut myself off there from everything and everyone and immerse myself in the work. Often the studio is also the setting in which I take photos. Certain elements of the studios in which I have worked are often recur in my work and exhibitions.
Do you receive visits there; collectors, curators or fellow artists?
Of course, I occasionally receive visitors. These can be colleagues or a gallerist. Every now and then we have dinner there with friends or family. It is also really a place to live. At other times it isn’t as I don't always like to share the work that is in progress with others.
What is the most beautiful studio you have ever seen?
Lucebert's former studio is high on my list. I was an artist in residence there for a while. Combined with the living area that is connected to the studio, I deel that it's a very nice place. You can certainly feel how Lucebert and his family have created a place for living and working, and how people have lived there. To be able to live and work here for a while has been an important experience for me. But I also really like '101 Spring Street', Donald Judd's living and working space in New York. How Judd's 'permanent installation' coincides with the original architecture of the building - and that you can also create in such a place - I find really inspiring. I would also love to visit Georgia O'Keeffe's homes in New Mexico.
What does the ideal studio look like?
My current studio is pretty ideal. I would prefer to have so much space that I could also live there. I always thought I wouldn't want my studio near my house, but now that seems wonderful to me. That would allow me to work more often for just an hour or so and be closer to my work. And preferably near the sea.