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I'm an arts journalist & PR consultant living and working in Scotland. I've been a journalist for more than 25 years. I write a regular column for Scottish quality newspaper, The Herald. I deliver a PR service with an arty bent and work on a consultancy basis with arts organisations, including Scotland's leading creative industries festival, XpoNorth & broadcast support body, ScreenHI. I am currently co-writing a book about the celebrated Scots artist, George Wyllie, with his daughter Louise. Instrumental in making a celebration of his life's work happen in 2012. For more information, see www.georgewyllie.com When I'm not being a mum/working, I talk to my dog. He laps it up. Contact me on janpatience@me.com (All work © Jan Patience)

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Artists' studios

The studio of the late Sir Eduardo Paolozzi (1924-2005), recreated at the Dean Gallery, Edinburgh

Alasdair Wallace in his studio (WASPS, Hanson Street, Glasgow)

Me in the studio of the late Abigail McLellan

(Abby's Studio Pix by Sue Biazotti)

A late night blog, so probably not the most cogent I'll ever write, but this has been floating about my head for one reason and another, which I'll talk about at a later date.
One of the things I love about my job (circa 2010) is the fact that I get to meet artists in their studios - a privilege any art lover would enjoy.
Last week my friend, artist Sue Biazotti and I visited Alasdair Wallace in the adjoining studio which he shared with his late wife, Abby McLellan. Abby painted the title image of this blog and her work has come to represent a lot of different things for me in terms of the way I view the world.
Sadly Abby died in October last year after a long battle with MS. This cruel disease slowly robbed Abby of her mobility and her speech, but it couldn't take away the essence of who she was, which is an artist with an incredibly pure, yet utterly practical approach to her craft.
Alasdair (Ali) is finishing off Abby's final body of work and it is a true labour of love on his part. Her studio is not a 'shrine' to Abby, as in barely touched since he died. It is still a working studio, with all the trappings of her trade scattered all around. The only evidence of her ill health is the day bed, which is swathed in a brightly coloured quilt.
Studios are intensely private spaces and they speak volumes about the people who work in them to the interested outsider.
Strange then, that on Sunday, after seeing the deeply unsettling Diane Arbus exhibition at the Dean gallery in Edinburgh, in which the New York-born photographer constantly returns to the themes of the masks which people put up to the world, I headed downstairs to see Eduardo Paolozzi's studio which has been recreated in its entirety.
This densely overcrowded space is teeming with life - although the occupant died five years ago. There are four areas - desks for reading and working with paper, shelves for reference which brim over with plaster casts, a table for working and modelling and a bunk bed on a mezzanine for resting.
Abby would have loved it, as she saw herself as a maker rather than an artist.
The look of surprise and joy on people's faces as they viewed the studio contrasted with the rather perplexed looks I saw all around me at the Arbus exhibition.
All part of the art experience.

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