Open Studio Tour
Debunks the Artist Myths
Does the thought of spending a weekend being cornered by a self-absorbed, pseudo-intellect dressed in black, droning on about their artwork sound appealing to you?
If not, rest assured we are not about that. We are also going to debunk the myth of the starving artist with a little secret that happens every May—actually this weekend. It’s the one weekend in May, right after Mother's Day and before Memorial Day, that studio doors open to shine a new light on the Chester County art scene. It is called the Chester County Studio Tour! This tour connects the winding roads of the country to the city streets of West Chester and all lead to a colorful breed of artists showing the fruits of their labor in their own environment. This is a chance to be a part of history and collect autographs before the artists go back into seclusion and hang the "Sorry I don't sign autographs" sign back on their studio doors.
To visit an artist’s studio is a chance to plunge headfirst into the mind of an artist. The studio is a place where the walls echo the inspiration of their canvases. The queasiness of finding a severed ear wrapped in bandages tossed in the corner is only felt from reading the books that rest on their bookshelves. The books an artist chooses give great insight into who they admire and where they find their inspiration. It is the real-life connections of influence that make up a better list than their LinkedIn profile.
Materials, mediums, and metaphors wait on the floor and on the shelves ready to be mixed and manipulated to find their final resting spot in a masterpiece. Sometimes the haphazard, spontaneous drips on the floor or the wall are the only remaining evidence that captures the laborious process. Some studios are spotless and the tools of their labor are neatly arranged next to the easel. If you are lucky enough you can still smell the artist’s choice of medium in the room. Maybe you can catch a glimpse of a sketch or work in progress placed in the corner because of the artist’s own self-doubt and humility. The id, ego, and superego can all be found in this laboratory/factory the artist calls "studio."
Now that the light shines on the myth of the self absorbed, dark artist, it is time to debunk the myth of starving. Yes, an artist does get hungry, but please do not bring food for the artists when visiting their studios. On the contrary, they usually have some sort of munchies and some beverages for the studio visit. For some reason, without much Pew Research funding, artists have found that enjoying wine goes best with enjoying art. Don't let that moment when you are feeling an overwhelming rush of completeness, happiness, and enlightenment remain in the artist’s studio…take that masterpiece home! While researching this article, I have found that artists are more than happy to make more art. They are happiest when their thoughts, metaphors, and inspirations of life and light hang on other people’s walls. This philosophy of buying local art helps create an economic microcosm to cure the pangs of hunger.
With this new-found knowledge acquired from visiting artists’ studios, one can collect art with confidence. Since the establishment of the Chester County Studio Tour, there is no longer a need to visit those big box stores for your art collecting. Feel free to accessorize your newly found enlightenment with snap-together furniture that comes with instruction in two languages, one of which usually includes an umlaut. Art is a universal language that can be found in downtown West Chester, Phoenixville, and Kennett Square, or along a winding road heading out of town. This weekend when you see a sign that says “Art Show” or “Open Studio,” stop in and introduce yourself: that artist could be your neighbor. More than likely they won't be grumbling and wearing a beret, but they might be wearing black. I, on the other hand, prefer a Payne’s Grey…it has a bit more depth..