Welcome to my studio. I’d like to show you my creative work area and my blast zone for making my art. I hope this gives you a sense of how and where I work.
The first is the “warehouse”. To get there I squeeze between the water softner and furnace. This space is unfinished. In it I keep canvas, boards, unfinished works. I also keep my inventory of paints and and a range of tools, including staple guns, hand saws and power saws and assorted hammers, screwdrivers, and pliers. It is always sort of cold, and does not have great lighting. This is where I get to work with the woods or frames for the various pieces. Sometimes I will base coat or prime substrates here. It is also where I keep my old hoover vacuum and a shop vac. Explosions can be messy.
Through sliding maple “blast" doors is my main studio. It is long narrow, loosely organized space that I converted from my home office. This is where I do most of my work. I call it my “hut”. When I am trying to create something new this is where it all starts and ends. The world disappears. I can focus.
I get my inspiration from many places. Photography. Sculpture. Animals. The news. I’ll make thumbnail drawings and tiny paintings to get a feel for what I would like to produce. I love the abstract. But have just as much fun doing animal and my human figures - the Buzzmen. I will use pencils, charcoal, acrylic, and watercolor both before and after the explosion. The explosions are exciting. The forms and textures that are left behind are beautiful.
The studio has a number of different storage areas of all of the different papers, boards and canvas pieces I blow up. These storage areas are also where I keep my two sony alpha cameras, GL2 video camera, various lenses and a mini polaroid camera. There is large easel, a sleek galvanized metal table (it won’t burn) and a old Mac for music and marketing. I like listening to Soma FM, Indie Pop Rocks. And, or listening to classic 60’s jazz. I can’t work without music (I’m playing the new lil Wayne album right now). I use a 30 year old Sherwood receiver (It was owned by my brother Butch Vig) connected to some dated JBL speakers. The knobs have fallen off, and sometimes one channel goes out (if I shake it a little it comes back to life).
Another key feature of my space is my vintage exam table. My father is a retired doctor. This piece came from when he sold his practice many years ago. I use this to store the various high speed fuses and gunpowders. The smaller drawers contain lighters, brushes, a few paints. I’ll use the stirrups to hold rags and wipes. Scattered around this table are rocks, clamps, scrapers, ropes, framing tools, papers, all sort of things I have used at one time or another.
My main blast area is out a sliding door on a concrete deck. I will fuse and load gunpowder on smaller pieces in the studio then move them to the blast area. Larger pieces - weather permitting - I will fuse and load outside. Sometimes I will blow things up directly on the ground. Sometimes, placed on an old portable work table. The area is sheltered a bit from the wind. This is the space where I have hosted hundreds of explosion events.
After the explosions a cold beer is good! On the far side of the basement is our bar. It was hand crafted by Timmy Heiman out of a wooden dresser we found by the side of the road. The back bar is my grandmothers eighty year old oak side bar. We make good Old Fashions here, too!
My work is primitive, modern and explosive. I have to be totally committed. An image forms my head. I get a bit obsessed until it is blown up. I like to produce a lot of work and test things to get it right. My art can be dangerous to produce but I have confidence in the choices I make realizing that many will not turn out. That is the simple uncertain truth of exploding things.
I hope you like my studio. Visit sometime. I’ll blow something up. Boom!