A View From the Easel


Welcome to the 235th installment of A View From the Easel, a series in which artists reflect on their workspace. This week, artists transform their studios into a reflection of their inner life, appreciate other mediums, and recall the words of German painter Max Beckmann.

Want to take part? Check out our new submission guidelines and share a bit about your studio with us through this form! All mediums and workspaces are welcome, including your home studio.


OlaDapo Haroun, Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn

How long have you been working in this space?

Three years.

Describe an average day in your studio.

Every day in my studio is a blend of thoughts and actions that reflect my ethos as a conceptual artist; 70% of my practice is thought and 30% is expression in various mediums. I typically begin in spirit as I rise in the morning. I clear my mind by meditation and clean my physical body and space. At this phase, I’ve most likely consumed the sound and sight of people and animals by watching life outside my windows while drinking tea or a green juice. I also consume a small meal of nuts or fruits in the morning during this process. I start early: I’ve written action steps by 10am post-mediation, and by noon the paint is wet, the desk is active, and reference books are all over the place.

How does the space affect your work?

I believe my space affects my work in a very positive way. I consider it my shrine. There is love, peace, happiness, and purpose all over. Landmark inspiration and collected items I resonate with and adore. My studio is a physical reflection of myself and my thoughts.

How do you interact with the environment outside your studio?

After five years of moving from place to place and borough to borough, I settled in Bed-Stuy a couple of years ago. I’m extremely grateful for my community. A small gallery opened up in the same building as mine downstairs: MakeManifest, a vibrant cultural shop, gallery space, and creative community hub. A hub I was already happily engaged with and connected to. I also had my very first solo exhibition in this same gallery. A real renaissance is happening here in Bed-Stuy. The art community is bubbling and the world gets a taste of it each Sunday during the summer open street block party by the Tomkins Avenue Merchants Association (TAMA).

IMG 8928 Dapo Davinci

What do you love about your studio?

I love a lot of things about my studio, but what I adore are my windows. I have never had light like this and am very happy to. One of the biggest pros is that it allows me to house a lot of plants in the space, which I sincerely appreciate.

What do you wish were different?

My floors. I’m looking up some DIY ways to change it, or I might make a massive rug.


Melissa Schainker, Tribeca, Manhattan

How long have you been working in this space?

Four years.

Describe an average day in your studio.

I’m an early riser, starting at the studio as soon as I drop my kids off at school. I’m very formulaic in how I approach a piece, so I never come to canvas without several sketches. Therefore, I work on one piece at a time, intensely. I find working on more dilutes my focus. I’m also a musician, so there is no art without music. I sometimes cater playlists to elevate the mood of each individual painting. I also tend to take guitar breaks while I’m in the studio to help reset my brain and regain perspective.

How does the space affect your work?

Having a space outside of my home is a game changer for me as an artist. It’s a sacred space, where I can be most vulnerable and can work without distraction. I very rarely invite people in, particularly when I’m working. It’s a little like walking into my brain.

How do you interact with the environment outside your studio?

I feel very connected to fellow artists in my New York art family. I’ve exhibited frequently in the street art as well as fine art community and have found so many kindred spirits. My studio happens to sit in a neighborhood that is home to some stellar galleries. I feel so fortunate to be able to walk out of my space and directly into inspirational exhibitions.

What do you love about your studio?

I love its location and quirky history. The building used to be a textile factory. I also love sharing a building with fellow creatives.

What do you wish were different?

I wish I had windows. I only have one that faces the interior of the building. I joke it is a little like a cave in there, with fortunately good overhead lighting.

What is your favorite local museum?

I adore the Museum of the Moving Image, which isn’t super local but is in Queens. I have a film obsession and my exploration of all facets of art informs how I create. I think it’s a little one-note to only explore your exact medium as an artist.

What is your favorite art material to work with?

I’m oil on linen. All day every day.


Alex Clark, New Orleans, Louisiana

How long have you been working in this space?

Seven months.

Describe an average day in your studio.

I paint anytime I have morning through evening. I like natural light, which I usually augment with a spot. I usually work on several works at once. I always paint to music; a mix of Chet Baker, Kurt Weill, Lee “Scratch” Perry, Graham Parker, Sinead O’Connor, the Wailing Souls, and much more.

How does the space affect your work?

The reason I entered this, was to give hope and encouragement to the mainstream of artists who have no space to create. I’ve always said I could paint in a phone booth if necessary, and since I’ve moved to New Orleans, I’ve proved that!

What do you love about your studio?

My large window, which looks out on Gentilly Avenue, across from the fairgrounds. I grew up in a painting/sculpture studio in Manhattan, and my outlook and aesthetic derive from the excitement and energy of the street. Max Beckmann said it best: In the city I hear the lions roar!

What do you wish were different?

I would love a larger and orderly space, but I have no complaints; as long as I can find a way to paint, I’m happy.



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