The Studio Project: Alison Causer

My studio is a two-story row house nested on a tree-lined street in Bushwick, Brooklyn.

Most days, I get up, make coffee, take our new little puppy outside, meditate, and then start working. Sometimes I sketch and let my mind wonder, then I start working larger, or some days I just jump right into a large painting or drawing. I store my work in my studio and around the apartment—really anywhere. I do sell and show my work so that helps with the rotation of work through the space. I enjoy living with my work and being able to roll right into making at any time, day or night. No commute, no hassle. I also enjoy looking at my work as life continues around it; having people come over for dinner and seeing how they interact with my work or don’t.

My partner and I found this apartment several years ago on one of our walks in the neighborhood. We were living with another couple and it got bad, so we needed to get out fast. As a last resort we walked around hoping to find a place near our favorite coffee shop. We turned the corner, and there it was: a glowing “for rent” sign in the window. At the time, we had very little furniture, so the living room slowly became my studio rather than a living room. I have never really been interested in having a standard living room setup. Since the room is at the center of the apartment (with no windows), there is a cave-like or “womb” feeling to it. This space is my center, literally and figuratively. When I need a little inspiration, I have a sofa that I lounge on and spend time re-visiting older work of mine and flipping through art books. I think I get something out of the vitality of this neighborhood, too: the trains, the noise, the people, all of it. The neighborhood is high energy, sandwiched between the M train running ten feet behind our building and the J train racing by one block away on Broadway. I go to the Met as well as exhibitions around town; it’s great to see what others are thinking about and making. (I have to be careful though, because this can sometimes work against you!) I study part-time at the Art Students League, so I continually work towards finding balance between my studio practice and continuing my studies and development at the League and other venues. Recently, I decided to focus on drawing at the League and painting in my studio.

In my ideal space, I’d love to have big windows in the country somewhere near a body of water. Lots of windows, most likely a live/work set-up, or a small house with a large barn. I enjoy being in between the countryside and the city center. The dissimilarity stimulates my senses and allows me to see things differently each time. I was raised with this duality in a similar environment (city/nature) so this contrast is deeply ingrained in me. But I feel safe, protected by these high walls in my current studio, removed but still at the center of the pulse of the city. I enjoy the chaos of this corner.

Alison Causer participated in The League Residency at Vyt.

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