Artist in Residence
Looking forward Find out how this artist maintains his drawing energy, and discover the one thing he doesn’t allow in his studio…
Find out how John Picacio maintains his drawing energy, and discover the one thing he doesn’t allow in his studio.
My home studio is like a Swiss-Army knife. It’s an all-in-one workplace, archive, library, thinkspace, print factory and sanctuary. However, there’s one thing it’s not, and that’s a trophy room.
I’ve been fortunate to win Hugo Awards, Chesley Awards, Locus Awards, a World Fantasy Award and an Inkpot Award. Yet, as proud as I am of them, I don’t want them in my workspace. They’re displayed elsewhere in my house, and even though I believe that true creatives can work anywhere through any conditions, I want my studio to be about where I’m going, rather than where I’ve been.
Most of my work is heavily graphitebased, and my final works are combinations of traditional pencil drawings and abstract acrylic paintings, layered together in Photoshop. So my main drawing table and my Mac desktop are opposite from each other.
Bridging between them, on the western wall, is a giant pin board that’s currently filled with process work for my ongoing Loteria series. When I need to take a break from my main drawing table, I’ll move over to a lower Aeron chair and a smaller drawing table, facing the eastern wall. Having two dedicated drawing areas helps me to defeat fatigue.
I also keep a tabletop easel on the main drawing table. When I switch back and forth between projects, I can post a drawing and ‘let it breathe’, creating a punch list for improvement while working on something else.
This room is where I spend the lion’s share of my days and nights, but the best thing about working where I live is my six-year-old has an open-door
Here’s a detail shot from my ever-evolving Loteria design process board. Shown here are a sketch, notes and final design for my El Venado Loteria Grande card, inspired by Leigh Bardugo’s novel Shadow & Bone. I like to collect originals from artist friends. Here’s an oil painting of a diving helmet by Greg Manchess. Below that, behind the Batman Black & White statues, are two Jeffrey Alan Love originals. I’m working on a series of artworks inspired by Loteria, the Mexican game of chance. A giant pin board dominates the studio’s western wall and helps me organise my design thoughts. This board is constantly changing with new bits pinned daily.