Your first (real) studio space
An artist asks:
How do you know when you’ve outgrown your home studio?
This is a great question, because it applies to so many scenarios – whether you’re an artist working on pieces for an exhibition, or an artisan making products to take to a weekend market, or a micro business on the cusp of having to put on your first staff in order to fill your orders.
Before you start looking for new studio space, it makes sense to do some reflection about where you are, and where you want to go. Is your creative practice a hobby, something that makes a bit of pocket money on the side, or something that supports your financially – now or in the future? And, based on your answer, does it make sense for you to spend money right now on hiring studio space? If you are intending on scaling up your work and making money from it, then the answer could very well be ‘yes’. And even if it’s a hobby it could still make sense to fork out for studio space, if it ticks boxes for you other than making a living.
I’ve found with some artists that paying for studio space helps make that mindset shift from art as something they do on the side to art as their professional practice – so if you are the type that does well with external motivation, this could be a good step.
Another factor to consider is whether you would be more productive somewhere other than at home – and whether productivity is even important to you. If home is too distracting (kids, washing, Netflix, whatever) then it might make sense to move somewhere where you can focus more, particularly if you’re working to a deadline, or are trying to step up from hobbyist to professional. But if you don’t mind the home-work integration, or you don’t have any urgent need for more focus, then it might not make sense to spend money on a studio just yet.
Or it might be that you only need a bigger/less distracting studio to complete a specific project, and then you might look at hiring something for a few months, rather than on an ongoing basis. Finally, if you do decide to go ahead and move, are you interested in total isolation, sharing a studio with someone else, or having your own studio as part of a bigger creative community? There’s a bunch of options, and it will depend on how you prefer to work, and what’s available near you.