Studio Spaces

Amber McKenna

Features editor

To an artist, space is more than its dictionary definition.

Space is a place, a thing, a measure of time and a tool. For sophomores Gabe Stalling and Amanda Holtby and junior Keeley Thurman, having their own space in the form of a studio in the Miller Fine Arts Center is a privilege only a select few non-senior art majors enjoy.

Holtby calls her studio a sanctuary, a quiet place where she can work.

Set against tall windows with a view of greenery and partitioned off by wooden panels, with natural light and an artistic feeling in the air, these are spaces where artists can create and express themselves.

To Stalling, having his own studio is another step on his
life-long artistic journey.

“Both my parents are artists,” he said. “So I grew up doing art.”

Most often working with pen, charcoal and pencil, Stalling enjoys depicting the human figure. He also likes to sculpt. Lately his work has become politically driven, focusing on the war in Iraq.

“It’s not a view of the war per se, but I think it’s realistic of what you might see there,” Stalling said.

He tries to express despair and depression though his pieces, such as in his latest work, a 36-by-30-inch drawing of a burning city.

What Stalling likes best about having his own studio in the art building is the creative environment.

“It’s nice to get other artists’ opinions,” he said. “It’s great being able to have a constant dialogue about pieces.”

For the second year, Thurman uses her studio as a place to use her imagination.

“I like painting inside because a lot of what I paint comes from my head,” she said.

The painter used to illustrate mythological themes, but she said she is now painting impressionistic pieces that focus on geometric shapes, such as circles and squares, and works with negative space and boxes. For her, having time and a place to just paint is crucial.

“If I can’t finish a painting within four hours, it’ll never get done; I lose interest,” Thurman said.

She works with different mediums including acrylic paints, watercolor crayons and India inks. She enjoys the natural light that pours into her studio and having one place to put all of her easels, paints and other tools.

“It’s a relief; you go in there and you paint,” Thurman said. “Even of I’m in a bad mood I can make art, and it expresses what’s going on in my head.”  “You’re in there by yourself, and it’s like your own little world.”

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