Sensory Overload Work Environment

I pull photos from magazines and books for various colors, textures, poses, inspiration, and such for my art — I have for years. It has gotten to the point where the catalog of touchstones has gotten out of control.

What I used to do was plaster said images over the walls of my studio so I’d never forget. Being that I’m the ‘anti-hoarder’ and hate clutter, I developed a strict regiment of taking the images I wanted and 3-hole punching them into a large binder. This works to a point, but over 15 year have gotten ridiculous to flip through. When I get good books or expensive Italian fashion  magazines, I keep them intact, and so, the bulk of paper gets stacked high in the studio.

Since I now have a studio for the first time since college, I think I’m going to have to start plastering the walls again. As much as I love them to be bare and white — it ain’t working. My books I’m still good at keep half at home and half in-studio; being that my studio gets dusty and dirty thanks to the industrial environment. I’ve been looking at studios and offices of some fashion personalities I enjoy….

I was once so tidy that this Cecil Beaton style “throw the crap on the carpet to loom over” worked, but no longer.

I’d love to have a curved desk, like this Lagerfeld one. It would solve so many problems! Good thing I don’t have the budget to buy as many books as he does — can you imagine? He has floors of the stuff, not including his apartment!

At least Nigella Lawson’s library is somewhat contained. We had a library growing up as a kid — so this looks normal to me…

Carmel Snow resorted to laying out everything on the floor too. Well, her desk is AWFUL! If my desk looked like that, I’d die — a Dorothy Draper nightmare it is. As much as I’d like to, concrete dusty floors in my studio won’t allow me to leave tear sheets on the ground when I need them…

Here’s a rare occasion Helena Rubenstein’s workspace looks…well, sedate…

In the end, I think — dare I say it — Diana Vreeland has the right idea. I’m just going to tape all my tear sheets up as I did in my studio at CalArts…

Although this does take away from space to hang my art up, I need it, I can’t flip through books and binders every time I must find an image I vaguely remember from a photo shoot or painting from a bazillion years ago because it might have a necklace design, fold of fabric, or position of a thumb I need.

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4 Responses to “Sensory Overload Work Environment”


  1. 1 Shannon 02/28/2011 at 8:50 am

    a. y’know, we could get carpet
    b. ooooh let’s build a giant shadowbox pinup board next to your desk (shadowboxy to keep the dust off)
    c. oooooooooh let’s build a Nigella library wall
    d. just thinking about all of the above makes me tired, but it would be cool.

    • 2 vendettabella 02/28/2011 at 10:48 am

      We have carpet silly! It be dirty because of concrete dust. I’d need a shadow box for everything everywhere. What happened the bookcase that was going to be made out of that hillbilly coffin? I dunno where’d we put anything at this point.

  2. 3 OneMoreTime 03/03/2011 at 8:33 pm

    (Just another tidbit we love you for! 🙂

    Seriously, it was nice to hear that somebody else is kinda OCD w/the reference materials….and the 3-ring binder idea is a good one! The only other way I can think of to reference your images would be to scan them and then have them in an i-photo type folder to flip through. (?)(sorry-semi-computer illiterate…I’m sure there are better programs for it out there.

    Re: the dust…I give you guys a lot of credit as a ‘clean’ (fairly dust-free) artist and a ‘dusty’ (clay, plasterr-stone-wood sculpture, etc.) artist sharing the same space! I love both (yin and yang, for me) but always figured that I’d need 2 completely separate rooms. And I don’t even do any clay mixing or spraying, elay-wise. What’s the concrete dust from? Construction in the neighborhood?
    Well, anyway….love the last few posts…the one on frames was really thorough and not something you usually see talked about.

    • 4 vendettabella 03/05/2011 at 12:24 pm

      Yeah Shannon’s fiber/fabric doesn’t get in the way too much except in summer when the windows are open when felt and fuzz go flying(those felt scarves are getting boxed this year!) because then they land on my varnished surfaces. Better than the alternative: cat hair.

      We work in an old car factory and never finished the floors, so concrete dust is just from the floor and all that stuff. My husband likes to go on about how working in an old car factory is probably what gave me cancer (place has been tested, it isn’t).

      I have a lot of images on my computer I still need to print out, all sorts of weird crap I found on the internet, because I don’t want to ruin my books. Although the last cat killed many of my book spines. He was a jerk.


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