After moving into a new apartment several years back, my mom gave me a framed photograph of Picasso’s studio in Paris. The black and white photograph is simply glorious; dirty and slightly derelict, a huge window hangs open to show a flattened image of gabled rooftops. In the foreground, a scrawny poodle with an afro-haircut lays sprawled out on a thin rug, looking nonchalant and unamused. Next to him (or her) is Picasso’s easel and palette, propped up on a rickety folding table. Paintbrushes are everywhere, and the natural light pouring in makes the studio shadows sing. Looking at the photograph, I can practically smell the paint thinner and cigarette smoke.
I love this photo. Not because it’s a replacement for Picasso’s art, but rather, because it is an intimate look into how a brilliant artist chose to inhabit his sacred space.
Regardless of whether it’s intentional or not, our home, office, and/or studio, are places we all have the luxury of curating. Arranging furniture, hanging artwork, surrounding ourselves with meaningful objects, cooking or lighting candles with smells that are agreeable to us—all these small gestures help facilitate the way we choose to experience life and work.
Whether you are a minimalist (less is more) or a sentimentalist (more is more,) the spaces we live and work in often become extensions of our personalities, our experiences, our routines, and our processes.
So it is with these thoughts and awareness that I am currently creating my “home office,” i.e. a space for me to motivate myself to truly begin studying for the Architectural Registration Exams. After living as a moving target over the past several years, I am finally in a place (Denver) where I would like to hopefully settle “long-term” (hopefully John Lennon isn’t laughing as I state these words out loud, and worse yet, post them for virtual eternity) and am thus ready to begin the lengthy process of taking seven tests to become a licensed architect in the state of Colorado.
Here is my preliminary set-up. As you can see, I am a semi-minimalist with a slight affliction for eclectic (but relevant) props. To be fair, I will probably not use the t-squares to study, and like Picasso’s poodle, my dog Frida does not speak English, so will be unable to quiz me using the Archi-flash cards (but will likely provide invaluable moral support.)
With that said, despite summer’s welcome distractions and sense of whimsy, I hope to spend a good hour or two a day in this lovely wooden school seat, digesting my first test’s material (planning on taking the Construction Documents exam in late August.)
Hopefully my view of Denver rooftops might inspire the same type of success as Picasso’s studio gave him…