Creative spaces

By: Shalanndra Benally

Tribal affiliation: Diné

Major: Digital Culture –Art & Design

Something that I have always wondered during the course of the pandemic and 2020 overall was how artists were able to work from home without the access to studio time. Prior to the pandemic, I was frequently in the ASU screen printing studio. For me, leaving the studio was less than ideal having to move my newfound practice to my home considering I did not have my own equipment.

Ryan Allison and I were able to interview, including ourselves, three Indigenous art students on how they have adapted to their new found studio spaces, what they love the most about it, and how their space brought inspiration.

A top view of Shelly’s work desk shows a laptop, sketching pad, pencil holders, a computer monitor, a cutting mat, and post-its.
(Photos by: Shalanndra Benally/Turning Points Magazine)
Top photo: A smiling Shelly sitting at her desk. Bottom photo: A front view of Shelly’s work area shows frames and storage compartments arranged neatly underneath her desk and items tacked on the wall.

I knew when I moved into my new one-bedroom apartment that my desk would be where I spent most of my time, so the space and how I use it had to be the most efficient for me. Having just the one space for my desk, I have a lot of different uses for my space whether it’s for class, work, screen printing, drawing or creating in any way.

What I love the most about my workspace is the flexibility it has. Out of all the different artistic endeavors and projects this semester, it has been able to handle anything that has been thrown my way. I also love that I’m able to have this “safe space” of my own where I know my work won’t be disturbed. This space truly allows me to create in all of the ways that I want.

For me, the transition from working in the studio to working from home has been interesting. At first my space was very unorganized, but over time I’ve become very organized with my art supplies where I have shelves for my paints, drawing pads and other miscellaneous art supplies. Although I did own this desk pre-pandemic, I feel that now I’ve probably used my desk more within this past year than when I initially purchased it. The entire transition has been a huge learning curve since I am not one to sit down in one space for too long, but over time I have become very comfortable and happy with what my current studio/workspace is.

Selina Scott

Tribal affiliation: Diné

Major: BFA in Drawing, School of Art

This past summer, I was blessed to be given studio space in my family’s home for my senior year. My dad sacrificed half of his office space, but he was glad to as he has always been the number one supporter of my art. In my studio, I have a designated area for painting, working on dry media, and a desk for my Zoom classes and online homework. I have all of my art supplies and materials organized in one place. My little studio has become my favorite place and I’m so glad it was put together just in time for my final and busiest year at ASU.

Top photo: A smiling Selina Scott paints on an easel. Bottom photo: Selina poses for the camera with vibrant paintings and numerous paintbrushes on the wall behind her.
(Photos by: Mya Scott)

I love being able to work on multiple projects at once. The greatest advantage of having a studio at home is being able to leave all my work out and ready to start again the next day. I also love having wall space to hang up my paintings. My art already occupies a lot of walls in my home, but it is nice to look up and see it in my own workspace while I am in the middle of a project. Seeing my work motivates me to work harder on my next piece.

Having this workspace helped me transition to working full time at home. While it’s nice being able to work anytime at home, I miss the studio environments on campus and sharing ideas with my friends. I miss being able to walk around the room, look at work in progress, and getting my professors’ immediate feedback. The environment at the Art Building has helped me create some of my best work and stay focused during the three hours of class time. It’s sometimes hard to stay focused at home, but I love having studio space here. I hope we’ll be able to return to on-campus learning for my last semester next spring!

By: Raini-Skye Rogers

Tribal affiliation: Hopi & Diné

Major: Graphic design

Raini-Skye smiles with the wall behind her decorated with her schoolwork drawings.
(Photos by: Ryan Allison/Turning Points Magazine)

My workplace ties into my thoughts and work process. If it’s clean, then there are no occupying thoughts that might affect my work. If it’s messy, then I might not get anything done. Every drawing and writing helps me understand how I’m progressing in each studio class and motivates me to have another reference on a wall. It is also a visual description of what I am studying for my future career.

What I love the most is the extra workspace I have which is three times bigger compared to my freshman year. It gives me extra room to move around and have better organization of my studio supplies. I can also place my past writing/drawings work around my desk instead of pulling it out of notebooks or storage.

The transition at first was smooth and easily adjustable because I wouldn’t have to be running to my next studio class or to the printing lab. However, I do miss staying at the design studios late and seeing acquaintances from time to time. Positively, in the end, all of my work has been moving two times as fast and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

By: Ryan Allison

Tribal affiliation: Diné

Major: Graphic design

A smiling Ryan stands in front of his work desk which faces a window. An acoustic guitar is placed in front of a full bookshelf.

My workspace functions as an art studio and music studio. You’ll find several instruments and recording equipment sprinkled in with plenty of art supplies. Although it’s a relatively small area, I do my best to utilize every sliver of space.

What I love most about my work area is the fact I have all my supplies, whether music or design, within arms reach.

It was honestly nice to work in an area completely my own, however, time was limited with classes. It felt as if classes ended quickly and we all had to compete with one-on-one time with instructors. Being that this semester is a unique one, I did my best to have an open mind to the several different approaches to learning.

A top view look at Ryan’s desk which shows a Mac laptop, a coffee cup, sketching paper, a ruler, a cutting mat, exacto knife, pens, a hard drive and a candle.

By: Gabriela Ledezma

Tribal affiliation: Diné & Hispanic

Major: Graphic design

Gabriela is smiling as she leans against her work desk with folded arms. On the wall behind her are striking black-and-white sketches of Jim Morrison and a pin-up model.

I had to set up my main workspace in the corner of my room. A lot of my work and supplies are spread around my room, but my workspace mainly consists of canvas, sketch books, different mediums, and materials for studio classes. It’s pretty small, but it still allows me to get everything done comfortably.

What I love about my workspace is that I have access to all of my materials and mediums immediately opposed to taking what I’ll need for school on certain days, especially larger supplies.

The hardest part of the studio to home transition is the fact that I don’t get out as much as I used to, so my surroundings are limited. Not being able to interact and collaborate with other students also made the transition tough. However, the idea of being home, seeing my own work more often and still having those contacts comfort and inspire me.

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