During a vacation in Charleston, I got to visit Redux Contemporary Arts Center, which had been on my radar for a long time. It seems like every cute Southern artist I started to follow had a studio there. I first learned about it years ago, when Sally King Benedict had a space there. Since then, a handful of crazy talented women have joined, who you've probably seen all over Pinterest, blogs, etc - Teil Duncan, Lulie Wallace, Kate Long Stevenson, Blakely Little.
click photos for links to sources
The artist that really blew me away, personally, was Raven Roxanne.
My husband and I were wandering around the half-empty studios, peeking into most of them to see what was in progress. Admittedly, we were a little nervous to poke around unescorted. I really admire these artists... it was like wandering around a movie set trying to find your favorite celebrity at work.
So, of course, while shuffling through a particularly bright studio, an artist walks in on us and we became totally stutteringly awkward. Luckily for us, it was Raven, who put us at ease right off the bat. Y'all, she is so cool and nice.
Raven explained some technical decisions to us, like her glass palette table and how she uses the wall as an easel, and then we got into a deeper conversation about being a "solopreneur" and work-life balance and making the leap to pursue art full-time. She was a wide open book and I can't even begin to tell you how uplifting and encouraging that was. She even suggested that I stay in touch and ask questions down the road.
Every artist I met at Redux raved about the space and its collaborative atmosphere. They lend each other new materials to experiment with. They plan days to do their crating + shipping together. They share business advice and artistic critiques.
My brainy husband came away with a mind full of business ideas, but I was really touched by the openness and kindness of Raven and the other artists. They were so normal. And nice. How do you find something like that?
So, I'm on the lookout! Now I have big dreams of finding my own Redux here in Cincinnati. It could be an office/apartment that I share with one or two people, or it could be a big organization like Redux.
The visit made me realize how much I miss collaborating with other creatives. I'm not a huge fan of working from home. There is so much to be gained in a community where you can bounce ideas off each other, find inspiration... or just have an excuse to put on real clothes without elastic waistbands. I'd love to get in touch with other Cincinnati creatives. If you have any ideas, or are looking for a studio mate yourself, please don't hesitate to contact me!