Miami-based painters, sculptors and videographers share their workspaces, from a riverside lair to a living sketchbook

Any kind of bullshit.

The artist’s studio “is central to an artist’s myth and the way that we come to understand the work of art and its meaning in society”, says Alex Gartenfeld, the deputy director and chief curator of the Institute of Contemporary Art Miami (ICA). The museum opened its new permanent home on Friday 1 December with the group exhibition The Everywhere Studio, with around 100 works from the 1950s to today that explore the meaning of this space. Here, some Miami-based artists reflect on what the studio means to them and their work.

Susan Lee-Chun: “I see the studio as a live sketchbook, an archival space of the self, that I enter and [where I] attempt to make sense of ideas coming into fruition in my mind. At moments, it functions as a space of production, thought and chaos.”

Susan Lee-Chun: “I see the studio as a live sketchbook, an archival space of the self, that I enter and [where I] attempt to make sense of ideas coming into fruition in my mind. At moments, it functions as a space of production, thought and chaos.”

Antonia Wright: “My studio is full of TVs, projectors, cameras, journals, poetry books, a large desk—it’s my lair and, as Hemingway would say, ‘a clean, well-lighted place’. I work in a warehouse right on the Miami River and when I take breaks, I look for manatees.”

Antonia Wright: “My studio is full of TVs, projectors, cameras, journals, poetry books, a large desk—it’s my lair and, as Hemingway would say, ‘a clean, well-lighted place’. I work in a warehouse right on the Miami River and when I take breaks, I look for manatees.”

Sinisa Kukec:  “A song titled Grave Architecture by Stephen Malkmus of the band Pavement best describes for me what a studio space for making art means: ‘Come on in / Grave architecture / Grave architecture / Walk the marble malls / The monuments to those who fall…’ My thoughts on a studio in general—it’s like a home, or body. For a perpetual student, if you’re willing, it’s a lifetime—until the rent doubles.”

Sinisa Kukec: “A song titled Grave Architecture by Stephen Malkmus of the band Pavement best describes for me what a studio space for making art means: ‘Come on in / Grave architecture / Grave architecture / Walk the marble malls / The monuments to those who fall…’ My thoughts on a studio in general—it’s like a home, or body. For a perpetual student, if you’re willing, it’s a lifetime—until the rent doubles.”

“My studio spreads between a couple of buildings and throughout the garden of our compound in Coconut Grove. I tend to work outdoors most of the time … I often use the tree limbs as rigging points for the larger sculptures… Having a tiny chunk of jungle in the middle of the city is quite a privilege.”

Mark Handforth: “My studio spreads between a couple of buildings and throughout the garden of our compound in Coconut Grove. I tend to work outdoors most of the time … I often use the tree limbs as rigging points for the larger sculptures… Having a tiny chunk of jungle in the middle of the city is quite a privilege.”

“My studio is not always an indoor space. I often set up temporary studios at the different sites I’m researching… I follow chance and entropy in my practice, so allowing the locations to affect the process brings a certain degree of transparency to the final outcome.”

Agustina Woodgate: “My studio is not always an indoor space. I often set up temporary studios at the different sites I’m researching… I follow chance and entropy in my practice, so allowing the locations to affect the process brings a certain degree of transparency to the final outcome.”

Pepe Mar: “My practice in sculpture and painting—which revolves around the processes of collage, assemblage and printing—makes it essential [to] have a studio… I have to have the space to collect objects from around the world, which may need to be housed for years until their best use comes to me with specific works.”

Pepe Mar: “My practice in sculpture and painting—which revolves around the processes of collage, assemblage and printing—makes it essential [to] have a studio… I have to have the space to collect objects from around the world, which may need to be housed for years until their best use comes to me with specific works.”

Adler Guerrier: “Within the studio, thinking is fluidly informed by current concerns, recently finished works, much older works, books and magazines, visitors, fellow neighbouring artists in the [ArtCenter South Florida] studio building, the quality of light coming in the window, the weather, and sometimes, pedestrian traffic on Lincoln Road.”

Adler Guerrier: “Within the studio, thinking is fluidly informed by current concerns, recently finished works, much older works, books and magazines, visitors, fellow neighbouring artists in the [ArtCenter South Florida] studio building, the quality of light coming in the window, the weather, and sometimes, pedestrian traffic on Lincoln Road.”

Dara Friedman: “For me the studio is a quiet place where I can hear my own thoughts. It’s a room of my own... It can also be wherever I am with noise cancelling head phones on. Sometimes it’s a quiet space dedicated to working with other people—where no one can watch you. A private place.”

Dara Friedman: “For me the studio is a quiet place where I can hear my own thoughts. It’s a room of my own... It can also be wherever I am with noise cancelling head phones on. Sometimes it’s a quiet space dedicated to working with other people—where no one can watch you. A private place.”

Jillian Mayer: “Yes, it is important to see things and to travel, but it vital to have dedicated space to return to and digest all that you have seen. Artist studios become incubation spaces, workshops, and meditative refuges from the world.”

Jillian Mayer: “Yes, it is important to see things and to travel, but it vital to have dedicated space to return to and digest all that you have seen. Artist studios become incubation spaces, workshops, and meditative refuges from the world.”

Elite Kedan (left): “Even though artists have to shift around much more than they used to, I’m finding it’s still essential to have a physical and material grounding to park your practice for a while… a well-run residency and dedicated studio space [such as at ArtCenter South Florida] encourages consistency and discipline, which in turn encourage creative practice and exploration.”

Elite Kedan (left): “Even though artists have to shift around much more than they used to, I’m finding it’s still essential to have a physical and material grounding to park your practice for a while… a well-run residency and dedicated studio space [such as at ArtCenter South Florida] encourages consistency and discipline, which in turn encourage creative practice and exploration.”