24 Artist in residence
Art really is life when the artist works where they sleep… take a peek into the single room creative life
Michael Manomivibul knows about creative living: the artist works where he sleeps. He shows us around his studio.
Welcome to my studio, in my studio apartment! For two years I had the honour of sharing a studio with illustrator and creature designer Brynn Metheney. When we decided to move our spaces back home she really helped me rethink my setup. Most of my days are spent in this single room, so I’ve put a lot of thought into making this great live/work environment.
The walls are stuffed with art and inspiration from colleagues and heroes. I mix in pieces of my own work to help keep things in perspective, placing myself in the context of the creative community that I’m a part of. These narrow shelves are great for easily rotating the collection without the hassle of rehanging each time I want a refresh. I get great natural light and keep plants around to keep the things vibrant.
I don’t spend all day in the studio: good art comes from experience and life. You’re just as likely to find me brainstorming at a local coffee shop or riding along the waterside on my bike. My best ideas have come while out and about on my bike, so I try to get outside and be active every day.
On the other hand, some of the best work sessions happen between 9pm and 3am, a habit I picked up when I had a day job. There’s something magic about working late, when the world quietens down and I’m a little too tired to constantly second guess myself. I put on a podcast I’ve listened to a million times before and just paint. When I’m done I stumble backwards, fall into bed and do the whole thing over again the next day.
My most prized art pieces have come from trades with other artists, by trading art you’re trading respect. I’ll never forget the first time someone I think of as foundational to me as an artist offered to trade a piece with me. A model I built and painted a year ago. I grew up building models and painting pewter miniatures – I consider those years the foundation of my skills today. I rarely have the time any more, but sitting down with a model kit is still a deeply relaxing activity. I love art books. I recently went through my whole collection to get rid of books and free up some shelf space, an exercise I found surprisingly valuable. I learned a lot about how my tastes have changed and how I’ve grown as a person and artist. Toys and figures based on the work of Mike Mignola, Ashley Wood and Dave Stevens’s Rocketeer. I also have some Strandbeest models walking around somewhere. On display are artworks from Nathan Fox, Greg Ruth, Daniel Warren Johnson and other favourite comic artists of mine.