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Grey Cross Studios
1920 4th St, New Orleans , LA 70113
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Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Outdoor Art Studio 2.0

In the spring of 2019 after having moved into a new home in New Orleans, I began the transformation of the outdoor space around the house into an art space where I could hold shows and teach classes. I worked my ass off to get the space finished before the summers heat began. For those not familiar, New Orleans sits in the middle of one of the hottest most humid places in the United States. Since I wanted to create the space before my wedding to Poppy Z Brite in June, I hustled to put it together. 

Through the summer, the space has not been in active use, awaiting the once again cool months which always come at the end of October. 

What I was not able to accomplish was the second part of this build out. This house is very long. While the front art space takes up a large chunk of space, there is another large area further back. My intention was to build the public space up front, but the back space was for me. This space encompasses another large double alleyway that goes 40 feet back into a totally enclosed private backyard completely covered with a large tree and totally private due to a screening of bushes and fencing. 

Now that cooler weather will soon be upon us, I've decided to begin the build out for this space over the next few weeks and prepare it for use. 

Some small work had already been done which including cascading the tree above the space with lights and beginning prep work to lay paving stones throughout the whole space. 

After the wedding I also created a meditation pool for the space called a Scrying Bowl. So some work had been done. Now begins the hard work.

The biggest project is the construction of a photography enclosure. This will be an 8' high canvas covered box that allows me to photograph both models and art in the self contained box.  

The enclosure will sit against the back end of the house (see above) to give it shelter and protection from the elements. Once thats complete then I will finish the paving work across the whole space, raising it up a bit and turning it into a courtyard. 

You can see above how I've already begun the paving work. The plan when done is to create a multi-use space for projects, photography with shelving units stretching down one side and special lighting. This should give me substantial work space in a beautiful setting as well as a secondary photography area which is always needed.

Creating the Side Walls

First is the building of two 8' x 4' side walls. This is just skeleton because the whole enclosure will be covered in canvas rather than boards. 

Here is a finished wall

Forming the Enclosure

The two side walls are now put in place for their permanent home before the back braces are placed. You can see how big the encloser really is now.

Paving the Enclosure and Creating the 3D Canvas Walls

As the night ends, I've gotten the floor of the enclosure paved with red brick and the canvas hung. This will create a background that can be painted and changed at any time. It is so freaking hot tonight. I've had to do this in small segments and then come in and cool off. But its really looking good now. 

And here is the final enclosure with its canvas in place. The next step will be painting the canvas.

And here is the finished enclosure after painting and adding the Door to Nowhere sculpture. I had the inspiration at the last minute to move the Door to Nowhere from its space in the outdoor art space and move it back here. It was originally constructed in 3 separate pieces, so I put the door itself to the back and the sides to the front of the enclosure to form a brick wall. The door is weighted so I can move it it I don't want it in a shot or angle it so it looks like the door is partially open. I also moved the Scrying Bowl with the Buddha to the the front. Eventually this will be moved further out but I need to get more paving stones before it can be moved further. All together it makes for a very interesting space with a lot of possibilities for both photography and other projects. 

The next step in this project will be to the right of the photography enclosure. There is a large space here which will soon be used for project work and for teaching classes and for shelves.


I was able to start getting the lighting put in place tonight. There are two high daybright lights above the enclosure. There will also be several others that can be moved as needed. I've also put the tiki torches out when I want more of a mood lighting for the space. There is still a lot of perimeter cleaning to go. Eventually you wont see ladders or junk. Here are some great night shots of the space.


So here is the space ten days out from the start of the buildout. I've reaaranged a few things and added some brick work to the enclosure. I also moved the Door to Nowhere from the enclosure to the left hand side. Whats great about this is it creates a natural dressing room behind it for clients. By extending out the walls on each side of the enclosure its also created more privacy for the space.


At this stage I did the final paving and brick work the area. As more bricks become available I will probably extend these out further into the area. 

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