We all love a peek at an artist's working environment. Seeing where an artist makes their work gives us a visual insight into their process and thus (we think) their mindset. 

Tate Debate Banner image

A month or two ago Tate Shots asked which artists you’d like to see a video made about, and many asked for a studio visit with Mona Hatoum. She kindly agreed, and we’ve just published the resulting film.  

But whether it’s a video interview, a beautiful photograph of an artist’s workspace like Gautier Deblonde is celebrated for or even a full reconstruction like the Francis Bacon studio at the Hugh Lane gallery in Dublin, what more does seeing an artist’s work space tell us about an artist’s actual work? Knowing that many of you are artists and designers, we thought we’d ask you.

How much is your work influenced by the space you work in? Or have you worked to create a space that allows you to work exactly the way you want?


Julio Tabares

Why people want to go on vacation to a beach paradise? The reason is because it is not the same as going to Benidorm. The environment influences a lot.

See Benidorm in summer: http://t2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcR-uUHY8ueR777cr-8FAmYBfjaoYgWmmaJO98Q...

PS: Now, I renovated my apartment and I am more creative. My job is of higher quality. It has more soul. More energy.

Amy Louise Nettleton

I have a lovely studio about 7 miles from my home. Many feel uncomfortable there because it is in a Mormons Graveyard with all of the large windows looking out on the graves. My art practice focuses on decay, degeneration, preservatio and life cycle so its the perfect setting. I have VERY quiet neighbours. It certainly hasnt lead my art practice as i was working with these themes pre-studio, but it allows me time for contemplation which i dont feel i could get in a group studio set-up. It is large enough to accomodate my installations and sculptures but not too big that i feel the need to fill the space with junk

stephanie marvin

i think were you produce your art has a profound effect on what your art becomes at the end, whilst studying i loved the large boards that surrounded my desk they became my ever changing inspiration board along with the creative buzz the space had i created some interesting work and i enjoyed going to other studios to see what other students were up-to, to gain inspiration and also to have a break from intense work. but at times the dynamics of my course group did have negative effects with alot of gossip and what seemed to be favouritism with the tutors, i would be having negative spells with the unability to produce work i believed to be of poor quality. since graduating in 2009 i've had to become a part time artist due to the need to earn money, with my studio being the spare room in my flat that also works as a home for my clothes and belongings in boxes. whilst its not the perfect space to be creative in. at times of creative outbursts i have had ideas that have energised my mind and given me the will power to continue to be creative. but at the same time a mould problem has occurred within the flat so the space to create has become a creative block in recent months with work that has been produced becoming tarnished with unsightly spores. my most creative studio is the outdoors walking to the nearest open space and sitting drawing whats around me letting the feelings of nature and peacefullness allow my wonder to its full creative abilities.


I agree with Lawrence Pizzi - the space around me can have a profound effect on my day and the work I produce. I know it shouldn't but I suppose it's an obvious and easy sphere onto which I can project all my annoyances and grievances. If I can't concentrate then it's easy to blame it on all the mess around me and stop to tidy it up. Similarly, if I'm frustrated by not being able to vocalise something for a piece I'm writing then I decide that it's 'definitely' because I've been in the same surroundings for too long and need to leave. That said, if I'm really concentrating and focussed and something's going particularly well then I could pretty much be sitting anywhere because I'll be completely oblivious of my surroundings.

Tor Falcon

My studio is at the end of the garden. Fantastic to be at home but not in the house. It's my space. No children, no phone, no one else's stuff. It's freezing in winter and boiling in the summer. It's a space free of everything but my work. It's as messy or as tidy as I want it to be.

su fahy

Working out in the field in the landscape walking camera in hand then coming back to a studio space to organise post production cover the wall in images and this reflective space feels like a home for the imagination- a memory palace where I store thoughts and practice the art of memory and accumulate images.

Charlie Day

Of course I'm influenced by my studio. My most recent painting is of a blank wall with a lonely nail in it!


For a good time now, we`ve been having the possibility to live in a 200qm rooftop-flat on a hill growing vinjards, on top of a cute city with many churches and a castle on the opposite hill to ours. We live on bird- and sky-level and the garden is just outside the terrace. When we moved in I thought by myself about this great opportunity to experience such a lifestyle and felt very grateful since.

The idea came to my mind, that maybe the beauty of this special space might enrich and inspire us and would give our works this "wealth" in form of an"emotional base" of the images we create. After some time now, I believe, it did and does!

But: as long as we have our cameras and computers, we can live in a 7$ bungalow and have the urge to create!

Inspiration comes from within - if you have it, it does not matter where you are and whether you are rich or poor.

*celebrate life!* Nabiha&Thom


I feel the space I have to work in definitely influences the way I work. I have never had a very large studio space, so I have always been limited by the size of my space to how large the pieces are that I can create and how many paintings I can have going at any one time. Currently I have every available bit of space filled with canvases that are works in progress.

Also, if I had more space, I would have a comfortable couch to sit back on while I have my tea and meal breaks, so I could stay in the zone of my art without drifting elsewhere and becoming distracted.

My studio is set up in my home, so this too affects the way I work. In many ways this is a positive but at the same time, since I have become more isolated than when I worked in a large, shared studio block, I don't have the regular critiques and influences of my peers. This, I believe, changes the way I may work otherwise.


As a Feng Shui consultant having worked with homes, studios, offices, gardens or shops, I can say with no doubt that there is a direct effect between our environment and our lives/work.

Working in a place that is inspirational and being surrounded by the pieces you love, will surely help you be more creative, in the same way that clutter blocks the energy flow and, thus, will drain energy from you.

Feng Shui is not about creating a zen-looking space for serenity and peacefulness (or not always). It is about creating the RIGHT energy flow for your creativity. And that will depend mainly on your needs, the type of work you do, the floorplan of your studio, the way doors, windows, tables, chairs and furniture are displayed. Colors and materials have also a strong effect on the overall energy flow of each room.

Whether you are happy or not with your studio, the good news is that Feng Shui can help you create better energy in it!

Rosemarie Adcock

I am profoundly affected by my environment. My studio is 2 solid walls of windows and from the outdoors I listen to birds singing, if not only glance at cranes staring at me from the garden. I recall one morning while working on a large painting how the song of a bird the entire morning gave me such a sense of joy as I worked, and how pleasant the workday was. One might say that a painting is not only a visual narrative but also a recorded performance. A record of every moment, every intuitive selection of color and split-second application of a stroke of paint. All this is very much affected by one's surroundings.


I love the time I get to work from my home office, it's sunny right now and I just took a break in the garden. I sit writing documents on my work laptop and have my home pc on twitter / spotify.

I interact with colleagues on the phone and meet clients. I also have office workspace but I feel I work more efficiently at home.

I have a black cocker spaniel who is sat by my feet while I write this.


As an artist and backpacking traveler at heart I am not picky as to my work space, I find a studio too confining and if all I have is a sketch book and a pencil then that's my tools of choice for the day. I think it adds to your creative process when you are open to outside factors and allow yourself to be inspired externally every once and a while. I'm kinda a free thinking artist like that though... LOL

Lawrence Pizzi

The space around me can make or break my day! I am a minimalist at heart, when there is clutter or a sloppy person next to me I tense up. Currently I am sharing a space with a friend and he produces low end garments which tend to cheep... but what gets me is after a meeting there are garments hanging around everywhere. I straighten up and organize everything before I even make make coffee. Now my exception is when I am sewing ir teaching sewing... then the chaos is comforting and welcoming.

jacqueline jones

I work in the back of my kitchen studio space. It overlooks a garden. Sometimes the radio will play but no Tv or other distractions. This retreat is a different world to what is outside in this semi urban area. The front bussles with traffic but this is my temple when I want to paint. The alchemy involved in cooking is similar to painting. I often think of this when I am at work.


If I had An cosy and comfortable studio,I would write well than before. But I don't care about what the studio is or not. The most important thing is my inspiration.If I had the powerful one,I could work anywhere.


I work at home and that influences my work dramatically, whats in the space. currently looking after my 8 month old daughter, it has changed the way i work no end. away from paints mostly on to less messy mediums keeping one eye on a shoe eating monster whilst attempting to create, all good fun, photography has taken on a much larger role documenting growth and development. challenging


For me it depends on the mood, at times I can draw in small cosy spaces in front of the fireplace, fire and some music on, sort of calming and relaxing. Other times I have a drive to expand...and expand and that is when a bigger , most empty room , is in need. Frustration sets in if that place isn't available... Oh well... carpe diem. Donna

Stephen Feather

It depends on my own concentration levels. I find it difficult to paint and draw in my customary studio, which is the front room of my flat, due to the distraction of the t,v or the internet or laziness. And I find it inspiring to be in an art school studio with the fresh smell of oil paint and clutter of easels and art equipment. And yet if I get on with my work at home the distractions become background noise - sometimes I wouldn't be moved even by a tank rolling by! And sometimes in an art studio with others I can feel very self conscious and even vulnerable to the watching eyes and twitching hands.

I think the light is important wherever you work. Hatoum's studio looks like it has fantastic light. But what is brought up by her work and context is conflict. The conflict of bombs and gunfire a Palestinian or Lebanese artist faced or faces in trying to live and create their work. So I think in that sense my problems become pretty insignificant!


Leonardo Davinci once said something to the affect of: "Small rooms discipline the mind, large ones weaken it" so when i moved into a smaller space i was forced to be more practical. more economic with my supplies. The artwork itself? well, dealing with spacial relations in he studio is good practice for dealing with spatial relationships in a composition.

chris butcher

my work space is a apartment with morning light over the pacific facing towards washington state. the effects of those sun rises have been staggering. i now know roy henry vickers landscapes, that purple haze over seatle morning, vibrant in ways a turner seascape enlightens the non artist sences, as a new dawn arises


Just acquired a lovely new studio in a cave in Southern Spain. Combined with the inspirational surrounding countryside, it has already produced some of my best work...

Victoria Burroughes

Having just graduated, the absence of my regular studio space is causing no end of problems when it comes to motivation, innovation, creativity - but that is not because of the space itself but the people who inhabited it. Communal studio spaces encourage discussion and a critical attitude towards work, something that is much harder to find in solitude.