In this Creative Conversation, Rich, Sarah, and Suzanne talk about the behind-the-scenes of their art-making: workspaces, inspiration, and transcendence.
During the music-making process, it’s very important for me to have the right lighting. For me this means dim lights (never too bright), colored lights, and a candlelight. This setup really helps me “let the creative juices flow” and aids the transcendence I’m looking for when diving deep into a song. I’m not exactly sure why or how this method works for me, but it’s something I’m grateful for and sometimes not willing to compromise on!
When reflecting on my studio I realized how many reminders of my teacher exist in the space. For two years, I studied with master potter Keiichiroh Sato in the rural mountain town of Obuse, Japan. Mr. Sato has been an amazing mentor and we continue our relationship to this day. As I struggled on the pottery wheel during the early months of my apprenticeship in his studio, he would always offer encouraging advice and demonstrations. He also taught me about magic and intricacies of reduction firing in a gas kiln, and the spontaneity and unpredictability of pit firing. I feel lucky to have studied with such a caring, skilled and talented artist. As I work on the table he created, and with the tools he handcrafted, I am transported back to his studio in Japan. These elements serve as reminders of the importance of a life long connection between teacher and student.
I make my work in different settings—on a tabletop, on-site in a gallery, in 24-hour copy shops. My inspiration comes from disparate places—daily interactions with people, social media conversations, books. I love to observe what is on display in local stores, especially discount stores, thrift stores, and drugstores—to think about how it reflects on our times socio-politically and culturally. To see how these values are reflected in material—in a commodified world.
Most of my work starts in my mind long before it comes to fruition. Creativity often peaks at moments of deep relaxation. For me, hot baths are really conducive to this. All of the information I’ve been taking in and processing suddenly comes together—to the point that I sometimes find myself making sketches in the bathtub.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Rich Johnson is a sound designer, clarinetist, and teaching artist based in NYC, performing regularly throughout New York in a variety of ensembles. He studied clarinet with Alan R. Kay at the Hartt School of Music, and holds a B.M. in music technology from NYU. Read The LP interview with Rich here.
Sarah Rowe is a ceramic artist who apprenticed in a traditional ceramic studio with master potter Keiichiroh Sato. She recently received her MFA in Ceramics from Lehman College. Read The LP interview with Sarah here, and visit her on the web at sarahellenrowe.com/home.html.
Suzanne Broughel is a multi-disciplinary artist based in New York. She is the recipient of fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts and A.I.R. Gallery, and was a resident artist in the 2010 Triangle Artists Workshop. Broughel is a member of the tART feminist art collective. Read The LP interview with Suzanne here, and visit her on the web at fortyacresofbandaids.blogspot.com.