Creative spaces, Lawrence Art Walk 2003

Henry David Thoreau said "The world is but a canvas to the imagination." Artists feed their imaginations in myriad ways, but, eventually, they all go someplace to create. The most common destination i

Sunday, October 19, 2003


Mike Yoder/Journal-World Photo

Artist Donika Wiley works on an abstract painting in her studio at the Grimshaw Gallery, 731 N.H.

Thoreau had his cabin on Walden Pond.

Gustav Mahler had his composing hut on an Austrian mountainside.

Lawrence artist Craig Cochran has a creative hideaway, too.

It's a small, simple niche in the cavernous back room at the Grimshaw Gallery. He comes here most evenings to pick up a paint brush and let his creative impulse take command.

"I feed off the environment I create for myself," he says, scanning his studio. Bottles of acrylic paint and a jar of brushes lie neatly on a tabletop within reach of an easel supporting a painting in progress. "At the start, I'm really in tune with my surroundings. But once I get working through a painting, everything else kind of disappears."

Not so in the nearby work space of mixed media sculptor Jay Gordon. His creative process depends on an almost constant awareness of the objects around him. The collection is slightly macabre: bones, driftwood, an old baby doll and organic-looking assemblages that appear to be in the late stages of decay. It's a mess, but Gordon thrives on the chaos.

"I pretty much make it up as I go along. I don't have a plan when I start," he says. "Everything is sort of just laying around. I work better when there's not a lot of structure to it."

Cochran and Gordon's diverging approaches are part of what makes the Grimshaw's cooperative work environment successful.

"It's brilliant," Gordon says. "Any time of the night, there's usually someone here working. I've made some really important decisions after discussions with other artists. It's really good for motivation."

The 14 artists who share the space haven't given much thought to how the arrangement of their studios helps them create. They just make practical decisions, like where to position light so they can see their artwork in the dark depths of the co-op and where to stow supplies so they're within quick reach when the muse strikes.

Creativity experts say the key to a successful creative space is having all the necessary materials at hand -- paint, brushes, clay, plaster, etc. -- and the freedom to leave projects half-finished without having to clean up.

They also note creative space isn't just a physical concept; it's a state of mind.

"It's kind of a meditation more than anything else," Cochran says of the time he spends painting. "It's definitely escapism."

The Grimshaw studio area seems tailor-made for escape. The creative energy is palpable when you step into the studios from the public gallery space up front. Mellow electronic rhythms lilt through the air, and, as you explore the space further, secret nooks begin to appear, each illuminated by lamplight.

The Grimshaw inhabits the building that once housed Chapman's Used and Curious Goods. Though a public auction cleared out most of the eclectic collection left behind when Clyde Chapman died, a few odd remnants linger.

An antiquated heater rises from the center of Gordon's studio like some industrial-age monolith. He discovered its innards were brimming with ash, so he's been incorporating the material into his work.

The architecture helps set a mood as well. Aging brick walls with faded white paint flank two sides of Donika Wiley's studio. She likes the texture and the way the light reflects off the bright surface.


Mike Yoder/Journal-World Photo

Lawrence artist Craig Cochran's studio at the Grimshaw Gallery, 731 N.H., is a small, spare space beneath a loft. Cochran and other artists at Grimshaw Gallery will be in their spaces during the Lawrence ArtWalk, Saturday and Oct. 26.

"I think there's so much going on in terms of 'stuff' everywhere that usually it helps me to think," she says of the cluttered climate. "There's so much reference here."

And when nothing in the surrounding mishmash stimulates or guides, many of the artists turn to their book shelves. Chris Buffalo keeps a stash of Buddhist texts near his drawing table. He's working on a colored pencil drawing in which a Buddha figure hovers above the word "enlightenment." Cochran, who moonlights as a DJ and remodeler, keeps several stacks of interior design magazines on a shelf in his studio.

"I get these magazines to look at photographs just to get the shades and the highlights and how everything lands because I'm not really working from a hard copy," says Cochran, who explains that most of the subjects he paints come to him in dreams.

He's eager to show visitors a space he characterizes as "raw." His description of his studio seems an apt portrait for the entire space:

"It's like a little room with a big door."

Art Walk participants (numbers correspond with those on map)

  1. Susan Egan, jewelry, 4216 Harvard Road.
  2. Mick Braa, painting and mixed media; John Wysocki, photography; CornerBank, 4621 W. Sixth St.
  3. Debbie Dillon, paper, 701 Joseph Dr.
  4. Constance Ehrlich, painting, drawing and hand-beaded objects, 201 Fall Creek Road.
  5. Linda Kelly, ceramics and sculpture; Anna Huelskamp, painting; 3213 Riverview Road.
  6. Jewell Willhite, painting, 2903 Schwarz Road.
  7. Clark Fulton, painting, 2343 Westchester Road.
  8. Kathleen Anderson, painting; Pam Rees, oil painting; 227 Iowa.
  9. Unity Art Gallery, digital, drawing, fiber, mixed media, painting and photography, Unity Church, 929 Madeline Lane.
  10. Barbara Solberg, mixed-media and drawing (pastel), 2504 Westdale Road.
  11. Carolyn Young, photography, 803 Highland Drive.
  12. Hobart Jackson, drawing and painting; Shakura Jackson, photography; Valley Lane Studios, 1335 Valley Lane.
  13. Toni Brou, mixed media, painting and painted furniture; Maria Anthony, painting; 806 Ark.
  14. Laurie Culling, painting, mixed media and handmade paper collages; Linda Baranski, painting and mosaic; 800 Ill.
  15. Celestial Ironworks: Back to the Garden Gallery, metalworks, glass, ceramics and a variety of 2-D media, 619 N. Second St.
  16. Jude Billings-Johnson, calligraphy, pen and ink and painting, 711 N. Fourth St.
  17. Scott Garrette, ceramics, drawing, painting; Victoria Garrette, painting, drawing and ceramics; 305 Lincoln St.
  18. Riverfront Mosaics, mosaics, ceramics, glass, wood, sculpture and painting, 239 Elm St.
  19. Traci Bunkers, fiber and mixed media; Bobbi Studstill, mixed media and alternative imagery; Bonkers Handmade Originals, Poehler Building, 619 E. Eighth St.
  20. Main gallery: Diana Dunkley, painting, mixed-media and performance/installation; Dan Hermreck, mixed media, ceramics and sculpture; Margaret Rose, mixed media, graphics/prints, painting and photography; Cathy Tisdale, ceramics; In the alley: Matt Jones, wood and painting, Studio 3D, 1019 Del.
  21. Suzanne Perry, mixed media, lamps and clocks; May Bernofsky, painting (watercolor), 1321 N.H.
  22. Lori Hinrichsen, printmaking, mixed media and handmade paper; Marion Dyer, silk and natural fiber textiles (hand-dyed, hand painted), 1205 Pa.
  23. Shala Stevenson, Pysanky eggs, 1238 Prairie Ave.
  24. Dave Van Hee, mixed media, metalworks and painting, 1511 E. 1584 Road.
  25. Paul Penny, painting, and a variety of 2-D media, Hy-Vee Side Door Gallery, 3504 Clinton Parkway.
  26. Karen Wiley, mixed media, painting and collage, 2503 Atchison Ave.
  27. Enrique Peñaloza, sculpture, painting and photography, 2539 Ridge Court.
  28. Yvonne Channel, painting; Reeta Almeida, ceramics and henna painting (tattoos); Susan Greenberg, acrylic, pastel and charcoal; 2526 Belle Haven Drive.
  29. Celia Smith, painting (acrylic and ink) and prints, 907 W. 27th Terrace.
  30. Bob Gent, hand-blown glass, Bob Gent Glassworks, 1801 Barker Ave.
  31. James Nedresky, photography, 1830 Barker Ave.
  32. Jonathan Wilke, ceramics, Sienna Tile Works and Pottery, 2116 Vt.
  33. Linda Samson-Talleur, graphics/prints (relief prints) and books; Cathy Ledeker, painting, calligraphy and drawing; 2220 R.I.
  34. Pat Ransone, painting (watercolor), mixed media and photography, 13 Winona Ave.
  35. Steve Richardson, sculpture, metalworks and jewelry, 811 E. 28th St., Suite B.
  36. Kathy Drungilas, painting, 2132 E. 26th St.
  37. Julie Kingsbury, jewelry, 2704 Fenwick Road.
  38. Susan McCarthy, drawing, painting and sculpture, 625 Ohio.
  39. Sammie Messick, fiber, 631 Ohio.
  40. Auditorium: Joel Cooper, drawing, painting and paper; Angela Curtis, mixed media and fiber; Dian Hauser, mixed media, painting and jewelry; Dale Martin, graphics/prints and mixed-media; Karen Matheis, graphics/prints; Amanda Rogers, pen and ink, painting and mixed media; elsewhere in the library, Downtown Tuesday Painters, Lawrence Public Library, 707 Vt.
  41. Southwest and More, oils, watercolors, acrylics, pen and ink, functional and decorative pottery, textiles and more; 727 Mass.
  42. Fields Gallery, graphics/prints, painting, photography and sculpture, 712 Mass.
  43. Grimshaw Gallery Collective, drawing, metalworks, mixed media, painting, sculpture and wood, 731 N.H.
  44. Signs of Life Gallery, drawing, graphics/prints, mixed media, painting and photography, 722 Mass.
  45. Karen Jacks, mixed media, painting and graphics/prints; Edward Robison III, photography; Janalee Robison, mixed media, painting and drawing; W. Eighth St., second floor.
  46. Downtown Tuesday Painters, drawing, mixed media, sculpture, wood and painting, Douglas County Senior Services, 745 Vt.
  47. Prairie Pond Studio and Bead Company, fiber, jewelry and photography, 809 Mass.
  48. Marvin Kitten, printmaking and sculpture; Stephanie Kitten, painting, mixed media and sculpture; Kitten Fine Art Studio, Miko, 13 E. Eighth St.
  49. Olive Gallery and Art Supply, jewelry, mixed media, painting, photography, sculpture and performance art; 15 E. Eighth St.
  50. Ardys Ramberg, metalworks (sculpture) and mixed-media, 812 N.Y.
  51. Ann Freeman, ceramics and fiber, 845 N.Y.
  52. Dave Loewenstein. murals, mosaics and ceramics; Pamela Loewenstein, ceramics (functional and decorative pottery); 411 E. Ninth St.
  53. Ravi Phull, mixed media, 1008 Ohio.
  54. First United Methodist Senior Artists, drawing, mixed media, painting, photography, sculpture and wood, 946 Vt.
  55. Dan Schriner, fiber, 947 N.H.
  56. Gallery: Kansas Artists Craftsmen Association Exhibition, Thursday-Nov. 28; main lobby: Lawrence Photo Alliance, photography; Lawrence Arts Center, 940 N.H.
  57. Mid-Western Sculptors' Guild, sculpture, painting and drawing, 1673 Republic Road.
  58. Karla Nathan, painting, jewelry and mixed-media, 754 E. 1200 Road.
  59. Catherine Hale Robins, sculpture and drawing; Bill Bowerman, digital (scanography) and drawing; Doug Guess, painting (watercolor); 448 N. 1500 Road.
  60. Kathy Hird Wright, photography and jewelry, 745 N. 1550 Road.
  61. Susan Jordan, drawing (pastel), painting (watercolor) and graphics/prints (monoprints), 985 E. 1587 Road.