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Inside the Painter's Studio

4.24  ·  Rating details ·  577 ratings  ·  28 reviews
"Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just show up and get to work."
Chuck Close

Inside an art gallery, it is easy to forget that the paintings there are the end products of a process involving not only creative inspiration, but also plenty of physical and logistical details. It is these "cruder," more mundane aspects of a painter's daily routine that motivated Brookl
Paperback, 240 pages
Published September 2nd 2009 by Princeton Architectural Press (first published 2009)
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Dec 31, 2009 rated it liked it
This book features some of my favorite contemporary artists. I thought it might be interesting to hear what they have to say, and that the technical slant of this book would reveal interesting techniques.

Unfortunately, every painter in the book is given pretty much the same questionnaire about their studio ("How long have you have your painting table?") and there aren't a lot of follow-up questions. So I felt like I do while I listen to NPR's Terry Gross--like there are a lot of missed opportun
Jan 28, 2010 rated it it was amazing
For those interested in the intricacies not only of contemporary painting, but of a contemporary painting practice, there is no book quite like this. Joe Fig (whose weirdly completist miniature models of artist spaces appear throughout the texts) devises an unlikely interview to be delivered to each artist in the book, with questions ranging from, "When contemplating your work, do you sit or stand?" or "What time do you wake up in the morning?" I am constantly telling my students not to look at ...more
Jan 31, 2013 rated it really liked it
I am not a painter, but I do have a fascination with the creative process - no matter what form it takes. This is a beautifully compiled book with photographs of painters in their studios that perfectly complement the artists' interviews. The interviews and photographs are a byproduct of Joe Fig's own work; he creates small-scale sculptures of artists' studios. Through his research, he came up with a formula of questions - everything from "when did you consider yourself a professional artist?" a ...more
Apr 05, 2015 rated it liked it
Lately lots of books have been published that provide mere mortals a peek into the boiler room of truly creative people. In that pack this book stands out although perhaps not in a totally convincing way. It was put together by Joe Fig who is a visual artist himself. Fig specializes in building exceedingly detailed miniature models of fellow artists’ studios. Research is an important part of his creative process. He visits colleagues’ studios and documents their working routines. This book is a ...more
Bridgette Guerzon Mills
Oct 07, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: art, nonfiction, favorites
I really enjoyed this book as it gives a glimpse into the working lives of professional artists in and around NYC. This is not a technical book. It is a book by an artist interviewing other visual artists about how their studios are set up, what their day to day work day is like, how one goes about titling a painting, etc. I particularly liked the last two questions he asked every artist- do you live by a certain motto and what advice would you give to a young artist.
Jana Bouc
Oct 31, 2011 rated it it was amazing
LOVED IT! Very inspiring book. Filled with photos of artists' studios and interviews with them...what could be better?! So many of the artists had wise things to say about making art, about the life of an artist and about being true to oneself. Seeing the small, crummy studios (as well as fabulous ones) that some of the successful artists have shows that having the perfect studio is NOT the key to making successful art. ...more
Jul 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
I love this stuff. I've been sort of obsessing over artists' routines, creative process and work spaces. This is full of photos and great, basic interviews. ...more
Sep 18, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: creative, non-fiction
Question: "Lastly, what advice would you give a young artist who is just starting out?"
Response: "Really follow the work and go really deeply and honestly into your work and yourself as an individual. Your work should take care of you. Make really good & really interesting work and go after that instead of trying to find some formula to guide your work by. You are the best guide for your work and its path." Julie Mehretu - Painter exploring the rearrangement of the fabric and texture of our soci
Jan 15, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: art
Greatly recommend the book to all artists or interested in art practice.

The book features 24 active contemporary artists with very diverse art and respective practice set up. all were asked the same questions that help to compare, notice patterns. the interviews are supported by high quality pictures. It's definitely an inspirational book.

as an artist i answered the same questions myself and it helped to see opportunities of my own artistic practice and approach studio space differently.

Mar 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: art, non-fiction
An interesting peek inside a number of famous painter's studios. Now I'd like to see a follow-up of modern famous and not-so-famous artist's studios. Always good for inspiration and organization tips! ...more
F.J. Commelin
Feb 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: art-practice
inspirational book.
Gerald Thomson
Nov 12, 2012 rated it liked it
A very fascinating, inside look at 24 artists, including Chuck Close, Eric Fischl and Philip Pearlstein. Fig uses a question and answer format to find out about the artist’s background, techniques and advice. Fig asks basically the same questions of all of the artists, which caused him not to pursue some intriguing lines of questioning that I, as the reader, really wanted to know more about. However, on occasion, the author would deviate from his script and then the conversation was that much mo ...more
John Teehan
Jul 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
The checklist-style of interviewing was a little limiting and sometimes ran afoul of an artist's approach to process, but overall it's a very enjoyable and worthwhile book if for no other reason than to present the variety in workspaces employed by many talented artists. It's rather NY-centric. I'd like to see a version that covers artists from various parts of the country--or even the world.

The "mixed media" 3-d dioramas of the various studios are kind of neat. Some of the pictures are startlin
Apr 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
I loved this. Fig asks each painter the same questions--some are what you'd expect, although most are questions that are not what one would expect, but are exactly what another painter would like to hear about: do you work in silence or do you listen to something? Do you contemplate you work standing up or sitting down? Do you clean your studio, etc. Reading these conversations got me thinking about my own work. ...more
So inspiring and so practical!

The author (also an artist) brings his sensibilities to a questionaire that is verbally completed with a variety of NY based highly successful artists. Questions about the pace of their day, advice for beginners, the history of the objects in their studio, their processes and tools.

A must read, seriously, for painters. If anything, you will find camaraderie in knowing your struggles are the same as theirs.
Feb 21, 2011 rated it really liked it
Voyeurism-- what can I say. As a painter, a new painter, I always wonder what other artists day to day process is. This book was quite fascinating for it asks the same set of questions to a variety of artists so you get a feel for their creative world. Sometimes the ego's and desire for privacy makes the book just fall short but it still pulls you in. My favorite question asked was to tell the story of their painting table -- interesting.
Apr 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: art
Awesome! What works is work--what any artist needs to know. Beyond that, an engaging look into the regular lives of artists and their studios. What you may miss is that the photographs are not actually of the artist's studios, they are miniatures of the artist's studios created by the author of the book as that is his art. Delightful on many levels. ...more
Jordan A. A.
May 30, 2010 rated it liked it
Used this book for my beginning painting course last semester. It started great discussions in class about painting politics, methods and preferences. If I had the chance to speak to all the painters that the author did, I definitely would have asked a different set of questions but I liked what he presented through his choices.
Jan 19, 2010 rated it liked it
Recommended to Stephan by: Sharon Butler
Shelves: art-books
I read most of this in segments at work. The artist interviews often helped me if I was having a particularly bad day. But it has a few corny bits too - and I think the artists sometimes react to those corny questions, like "Do you have a motto or creed?". ...more
Jan 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A superb insight into the real day to day working life of professional artists, down to their work habits and supplies, not merely about the creative process. Well done, informative, a pleasure to read, and even reread. Excellent choice to read simultaneously with a novel.
Dec 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: art
This book is a work of art! I found it by accident while shopping at Utrecht. I'm not formally trained so the advice and insight on the habits of successful artists, in their own words, is extremely valuable to me. The biggest lesson: Do your work. Everyday. ...more
Sep 19, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Fascinating look into the work environments of a wide selection of artists. Incredible miniature sculpture reproductions of the studios by the author...many were so realistic I thought they were photographs.
Feb 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Great book if you're looking to get back into art, read about other artist's processes, or just be inspired by new processes and new thoughts and experiences!

Great to look at the Artist's/Author's work along side the artists he's interviewed!
Dec 24, 2011 rated it liked it
Repetitive, but worth reading if you are interested in these painters, and/or what you have to do be a professional painter
R.J. McHatton
Very inspiring book. Gives you ideas about how other painters have set up their studios and their habits of success. I liked this book.
Francesca Siano
Jan 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Really enjoyed hearing about other Artists in their studios, and seeing Joe's miniature recreations of them. Really cool stuff! ...more
Apr 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I am rereading this book. I really liked it the first time and finding new, interesting things in it again. Great for painters.
Victoria Sadeq
Fascinating reads
karen Fischberg
rated it it was amazing
May 20, 2018
Hana Al-Itawi
rated it it was ok
Dec 09, 2020
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