Cabinet of curiosities This Dutch artist is trying to cram a museum into a converted bedroom studio. Find out why…
One of the best things about my studio is that it’s got a door! I can step into it in the morning… and close the door behind me when I’m done in the evening. It’s my sanctuary.
But it’s small and getting too small, so I’m invading every other room in the house. My stash of shipping supplies, frames, boxes of sketches and photo studio setup has taken over the attic, while my silk-screen area has moved into the smallest bedroom in the house, and the bathroom is where I mount watercolour paper to board, wash my silkscreens and generally use as my room for nasty experiments.
My digital setup is on one side of the room, and opposite this is my pride and joy: an antique architect’s drafting table, which is over 100 years old. I can put it in an angle, but I prefer it flat because I love to spread out my sketches, materials and books when I’m working. Furthermore, I tend to work on different tasks each day, so I like things to be close at hand, switching between projects as the day progresses.
Sometimes my easel is set up in the room as well and I’ll work on oil paintings between client work. I like to work on different things at once; I find it keeps my mind fresh. When I hit a roadblock with one project I’ll put it to one side and work on the next one, while my subconscious comes up with ideas to solve the problems I’m facing with the first task.
I usually get up at around 6am and start work at around 7.30am. I’ll put on an audiobook, check up on some emails and then do some warm-up sketches. I try to do all the boring, business stuff before 10am,
and then it’s full-on art! I have a little digital clock that goes off every hour, which lets me know that it’s time to take a break and make a cup of tea.
I’ve got loads of books in my studio as well as art that I’ve collected over the years. It’s nice to have all of this close at hand – it’s my emergency inspiration boost! Iris enjoys working on projects ranging from picture books to gallery art and even sculpts her own frames. Creating a “sense of wonder” is at the core of her work, which you can see by visiting www.eyeris.eu.
I do have a bit of a sketchbook addiction – I buy them in bulk. And there are stashes of new books everywhere! The space between my digital and traditional setups isn’t big, so I can easily switch between them. If you have a small studio like this then you have to be creative. I bought a Yiynova tablet rather than an Cintiq. It’s the ideal alternative to Wacom’s device if you need to paint digitally, but don’t want to spend lots of money. Here’s my fully functional architect’s drafting table. I usually keep it flat: the large working area leaves room for my art and my cats. I love this chest of drawers, which my mother salvaged from an old school. I put wheels on it and use it to store my smaller supplies. I place my paints on when I’m using oils, and my easel will be next to it.
I collect items to use as props in paintings or to turn into works of art. This old porcelain doll is set to become a weird business card holder.
I like to take old porcelain dolls and turn them into something else. This is my octobaby and it’s a work in progress, but for now it keeps a watchful eye on me… and freaks out anyone who visit my studio! I try to find elaborate frames everywhere I go. I always intend to use them for a piece of art, but end up keeping them myself because I love the tacky gold frames. Oh, and that’s Edgar – he’s my studio crow. This is my cat Hyde. He and his brother Jekyll will always stay by my side when I’m working in the studio. They like nothing better than to be right in the midst of the action… preferably right on top of a freshly painted image! These mugs were bought at an antiques market in Bruges. The skull-shaped mug is used for cleaning my brushes (when I’m not using my tea mug) and the doll head is actually a flower pot. I have art by artists I admire in my studio, bought or gifted to me. They are my treasures. The all-important kettle. I can’t live without it. I need my tea next to me…
Just a small part of my collection of oddities. Since my studio is small, a lot of it is in the living room and I tend to bring stuff up to my work space to use in my paintings. I love looking at things like this to fire up the imagination. The little ray is the newest addition to the freak show and it’s perfect for when I’m working on mermaids.