Kirsten McCrea co-directs the world’s first art print subscription service she takes us on a studio tour
Multi-disciplinary artist Kirsten McCrea on crafting the perfect print sanctuary
Our print subscription business, Papirmass, is located on the west side of Toronto, in the neighbourhood of Wallace-Emerson. It’s a great area full of creative workers, and amenities are only a short walk away.
The studio itself is a dreamy, light-filled space, so good we've been able to shoot all of our Papirmass photos here using only natural light. It could be considered small by some office standards, but it's perfect for us – large enough for team meetings with our staff of eight.
One thing I love is that it has a lot of character. We have a wonderful collection of inspiring art books, prints by artists we love and a lot of little curio objects that me and my business partner JP [pictured] have picked up on our travels over the years. However, any time I feel stumped, overwhelmed or bored, I can get up and putz around the studio or go for a walk through the local area. I find that moving around really helps clear my mind.
We've been here for three years now, but I had a really hard time investing time and energy into setting it up in the beginning because I didn't believe it would last. We were evicted from our last space to make way for a larger corporate client, and that kind of thing stings for a while, making it hard to trust again. Our last studio was beautiful, but I prefer this one as life is much quieter. Though I can sometimes miss the hustle and bustle, it could be stressful at times – overall I think that a quiet life actually suits me better.
Speaking of which, it isn't by chance that my desk area (1) in the office has
been made as cosy as possible. This is where all the magic happens; where I can really focus on work. To the right is a full archive of the Papirmass prints we've produced – 105 issues so far!
That doesn't mean there isn't some excitement every now and then, though, as evidenced by the dedicated shelf of curio objects (2) I mentioned earlier. Here all the bits and pieces are laid out in the aftermath of a fun, but chaotic photoshoot.
In the back of the studio we have a risograph printer (3) and our own shelf of rainbow risograph inks (4). JP and I met and bonded over printing, and I love that he continues to experiment with this great technique. He makes a calendar every year, and this time New York's Museum of Modern Art will be carrying it.
Pinned up everywhere you'll find our Papirmass quote cards (5). We send out an illustrated quote every month along with an activity. Both JP and I are huge fans of personal development literature, and wanted to find a way to share the inspiring ideas we were encountering.
PHOTOGRAPH: Becca Gilgan