A View From the Easel


Welcome to the 229th installment of A View From the Easel, a series in which artists reflect on their workspace. This week, artists kick off their day with a morning perreo, take their work to the streets of their working-class neighborhood, and devise ways to escape the “too much thinking” phase.

Want to take part? Check out our new submission guidelines and share a bit about your studio with us through this form! All mediums and workspaces are welcome, including your home studio.


Yali Romagoza, Manhattan, New York

Describe an average day in your studio.

I like to wake up early. I am a morning person. I arrive at the studio in the morning and play a perreo song by Karol G, Ivy Queen, or Tokischa; I dance; that is my meditation. I usually work on several projects simultaneously as I do interdisciplinary work where media and genres intersect, from performance to installation, photography, video, and costume making. No day is the same as the other. I often don’t listen to anything when working; I enjoy the silence, making me feel very present. When I’m done for the day, I clean no matter how tired or messy the space is. I can’t work in a cluttered space; it makes me anxious and lose focus. So much is already happening inside my head.

How does the space affect your work?

As an artist who has worked primarily in performance and with the body, I find it exciting to have a space to explore object making and have the opportunity to display it and see it instantly.

How do you interact with the environment outside your studio?

EFA Studio YaliRomagoza 2 Yali Romagoza

I am part of the Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts (EFA) community as a studio member. EFA has a creative and risk-taking community that has inspired me, and I feel honored to be a part of it. The neighborhood is exciting and eclectic since we are close to Times Square; a lot is happening constantly. It has a special meaning for me since I used to walk through these streets in the fashion district looking for fabrics and materials on my work days in the fashion industry back in 2011–13. It’s like I’ve come full circle. All my passions, art and design, finally found each other.

What do you love about your studio?

I love that it’s a white cube and that I can play with having a new solo exhibition every month.

What do you wish were different?

Next time I’ll choose a studio with a window.

What is your favorite art material to work with?

The body.


Tyler Kline, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Describe an average day in your studio.

I live on a block in the Kensington Badlands of Philadelphia and art is transforming the block, which Rocky lived on in the original movie, into a working-class arts neighborhood. I paint, draw, and make digital design in my apartment, and I have a project space on the ground floor with a storefront that I use as a community arts space, gallery, and studio. I am never not making or daydreaming of art. I paint murals on the block, paint the exterior of properties, and maintain a community garden set up by New Kensington Community Development Corporation (NKCDC). I listen to the radio as I create, Temple Jazz 90.1 — they play Rufus Harley and Moondog and other under-recognized titans of sonic spacescapes.

How does the space affect your work?

I work on multiple projects at once and do some of my larger fabrication at Nextfab, a shared maker space down the way. The ambient dembow and reggaetón sounds of the neighborhood, as well as the cinematic structures of the El train, early 20th-century modernism of the Rowhouse neighborhood, and Philly working-class Irish Catholic and Puerto Rican roots in the depths of a tranq epidemic inform everything I create. I used to have a studio a couple blocks away, but since moving here and pairing with entities like Mural Arts Philadelphia, NKCDC, and neighbors, I have been able to tap into a transformative power of art; confrontation and nurturing of sorrow, and abundant hope create one of the most inspiring atmospheres in contrast to the opioid epidemic embattling these streets.

How do you interact with the environment outside your studio?

I socialize and plan with Kensington neighbors, activists, and curators; the community garden on the block anchors the crossroads of Tusculum and Kensington Avenue, out on the sidewalk listening to stories of the neighborhood’s history, and creating new narratives of an artist-led future.

What do you love about your studio?

I love my studio’s ability to act as a 24/7 receiver and transmitter of electromagnetic dream poetry field vibrations.

Tyler Kline Studio Interior

What do you wish were different?

I wish the neighborhood were not used as a containment zone by the greater city of Philadelphia to push and dump the marginalized, ill, forgotten, cheated, and abandoned as the rest of the city gentrifies.

What is your favorite local museum?

Taller Puertorriqueño.

What is your favorite art material to work with?

Minerals.


Catherine Benda, Marquette, Michigan

Describe an average day in your studio.

I work daily — but don’t keep a set schedule. My most productive times are between 10am and 3pm. I usually work in the quiet. I like working with multiple mediums, and then focusing on one thing and running with it. During the pandemic, I did make a Spotify playlist called Pandemic Dance Party to get me motivated. Every once in a while, I still play it.

How does the space affect your work?

My studio is off my kitchen with a separate outside entrance. I used to dream about a studio away from home, but this suits me much better. I can have several projects going on at once. I can walk away when I need a pause to get my head out of the “too much thinking” phase. I believe working from home has made me more productive and has allowed me to really focus on process.

How do you interact with the environment outside your studio?

Right outside my studio door is a garden and ski trails. This allows me to really step away from my work in any season and connect with nature. I am also part of a vibrant artist collective, a diverse group of working artists. We meet monthly for discussion and critique, and I host meetings and have studio visits.

What do you love about your studio?

I love that this space is accessible to me 24/7. I love that I don’t have to drive to get to a studio. I love that I have a huge north-facing sliding door to a garden and sauna.

What do you wish were different?

A bit bigger space maybe and a bit more privacy. Having my studio so close to the center of the house makes it easy for me to get interrupted or distracted.

What is your favorite local museum?

I currently live in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, and my nearest favorite museum is the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA). I grew up in Detroit and the DIA was a regular part of my outings.

What is your favorite art material to work with?

I am currently working with paper thread and paint.



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