Workspace Tour: The Studio of Chelsea Fierst
I believe the true soul of an artist lies within their workspace. After all, what is art but an expression of music heard, books read, places traveled, and relationships had? If you pay close attention you will find a treasure trove of clues and insight detailing a life beyond the surface of a canvas or page.
To me, the studio itself is a work of art: a collection of objects, an arrangement of materials, an articulation of space, a unique and ever-evolving portrayal of an artist.
I recently visited the studio of mixed media artist and visual stylist, Chelsea Fierst in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Walking into her industrial, light-filled space felt like stepping into a still of her life. Stacks of books and magazines revealed her curiosities, a wall tacked with tear sheets from magazines and sheet music detailed her inspirations, a flier on the windows sill from her first solo show called, “She Paints Loudly,” indicated her pride and joy, a small wooden stool recently purchased at the Brimfield Antique Show expressed her tastes. If my theory proves correct, every element, every detail of the space is deeply embedded into her work, one thing informs the other in a inseparable cycle of creativity.
I asked Chelsea a little bit about her process, her inspirations, and most importantly what she is dreaming about. Here is what she said:
STYLISH SOPHISTICATE: Tell me a little bit about your first solo exhibit?
Ultimately, the concept (of “She Paints Loudly”) revolved around music. Music has strongly influenced my work and my ideas, and also the emotions and feelings that I include in my paintings and in my drawings. So it’s the first place that I look to for inspiration.
STYLISH SOPHISTICATE: What type of music are you into?
Lately more classical and more instrumental, I look to a lot of movie scores, and also certain indie artists like: Damien Rice or Ben Howard, who are incredible guitarists and all around musicians that are very emotive in their work. So that fuels my feelings while I’m thinking about what I want to work on and how I want to approach my work. Therefore for this exhibit, each piece was paired with a song that heavily played a role while I was working on the piece. For instance, one of the biggest pieces was a portrait series called “The Nature of Daylight,” which was born from the song “On the Nature of Daylight,” by Max Richter. Hearing the song I was so moved by it and it had so much to do with what I was going through at the time in my life, so it was a natural progression for me to use that song and break it down and turn each note into a work of art. There is a self portrait for each stanza of the song, 50 in total.
STYLISH SOPHISTICATE: What else influences you?
Poetry. How a writer can so specifically choose how to play with words to deliver a message in an abstract way, that the reader has to investigate. The paintings that I am most moved by are ones that there’s not so much given to you right off the bat. You can see maybe there’s a figure in there, but then you’re also seeing all these colors balancing out with the figure or the line work is really interesting or they have a lot of layering where you can see color behind the other color.
I like to see a process and history there. Art history also inspires me because what has been done before has always informed what is happening now.
STYLISH SOPHISTICATE: Talk a little bit about your work space?
When I saw this space I immediately needed to have it, mainly because of this awesome light situation. With this space, I set it up so this wall could be used as an inspiration board that could constantly be changing depending on what I’m working on. And I have a functional desk space also. I have my shelf that I use for supplies. I use the space as needed. Sometimes have people come sit for me, for drawing figures and practicing portraiture, so I have this leather chair that will be comfortable for the for an extended time. Depending on the light, I move the chair around so I can get the right shadows. It is always evolving.
STYLISH SOPHISTICATE: What are you dreaming about now?
I’ve been thinking about taking a big hiking adventure in the Seattle/ Portland area, partly because I’ve been researching landscape backdrops, for Ralph Lauren, of the Northwest coast and I think it’s absolutely breathtaking. I think to see it in real life would be awesome and go off the grid for a little bit.
Written by: Amber David, founder of One 3rd Living. One 3rd Living is a decor, travel, and lifestyle brand that seeks to enhance the quality of life by exposing it’s unapparent beauty filtered through a curious yet discerning eye. Informed by culture and nature, inspired by artistry and creativity, our goal is to redefine modern living. Follow her at: One3rd_Living on Instagram