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Sunday, October 13, 2019
The Art Space that Grey Built
Over the past year I've talked a lot about how we are building out our home to accommodate our arts also. I get asked a lot to describe the layout because it doesn't seem possible to do all we are doing with just a house and no retail space.
So I decided to create this layout so people could envision better what we are trying to achieve.
When we moved here in August of 2018, we could instantly see the potential for the space. While the house itself is not wide, it is deep, with 7 rooms that are set shotgun style (this means the rooms are stacked in a single row).
Once we settled in, we went about making the front room into both a living room and a showcase room for various pieces of art.
Once I had my indoor studio set up, I went about planning for the outdoor space. I saw the potential for three things. One was a small outdoor art gallery which both myself and others could show there work. The second was a teaching and projects area where I could hold classes and work on larger projects without any space issues. The third was an outdoor photography area which I could use for clients who wanted custom portraits and that I could use to photograph my own work.
It wasn't until the spring of 2019 that I began work on the first of outside areas. Running along one side of the house was a double wide alleyway that was about 10 feet in width and ran back about 80 feet. This space would become the outside art gallery. My intention is to allow other artists to use this space for small shows and for a minimal fee. Unfortunately I was only able to complete the work on the space as summer approached. This meant that the extreme heat of New Orleans would make the space difficult to use until the heat broke again the fall. Now that its October of 2019 (at the time of this writing), I will begin holding shows and advertising the space to other artists for the next 6-7 months.
The other two areas had to wait until the weather began to cool again before they could be built.
Because both the teaching space and the photography studio are next to each other, I've been building these out together.
The teaching area has work tables, shelves and lighting to allow for most projects and classes to be conducted with comfort. Its layout is relatively simple.
Its the photography studio that I am placing all my skills into and which will take me most of the year to complete the way I envision it.
The first construction was a free standing photography enclosure.
This space is multi-use. The walls are made from canvas and can be painted upon or items added to it at any time to produce varying effects. Multiple canvas backdrops can be kept in storage and used at any time when we need something specific. The enclosure is paved red brick but is set up to allow for the addition of a soft pad when needed. Its lit from above and uses a natural canopy from a nearby tree to lend a great natural feel to the space.
There are shelves placed along one side that assist that allow for an additional ambiance as special lighting throughout the tree above and torches spaced around the area to create a more natural light to the area.
During the day a beautiful natural sunlight trickles in through the branches above and hits the photography enclosure to dapple it with sunny pools.
Once the enclosure and shelves were in place, I used black cloth to completely wrap the fence line, creating a privacy screen. This allows me to do body paintings and nude photography in the area also. The privacy screen will eventually be replaced with a series of panels created from styrofoam that will simulate brick walls and create an artistic privacy wall that can also be used for photography.
As of today the space is usable but will remain a work in progress for quite some time.
As any artists would do, I've named both the front and back areas. The outdoor gallery is called "Alternate Realities" while the back space, both teaching space and photography area will be called "Grey's Imaginarium".
So as you see, it is possible, with a little creativity, to build out a space that was never originally intended to be used this way. While I know that not everyone has the space or ability to be this elaborate, the point is that no matter what you have for space, if you use your creativity you can and will come up with possible ways to use your own space, even if its just the corner of a room. There are ways!
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